New Airline Avelo Is Counting On Air Travel’s Comeback From COVID-19

A brand-new mainline airline, the first in almost 15 years, debuted today at Southern California’s Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR). Avelo Airlines is a budget carrier that will begin by flying non-stop unserved routes between BUR and 11 markets scattered across the Western U.S., providing customers with low fares starting at $19 one-way and a smoother travel experience.

As the U.S. presses ahead with big-scale COVID-19 vaccination efforts in every state, case numbers decline (hopefully) and demand for air travel rebounds, Avelo’s Founder and CEO believes his fledgling airline will be in a perfect position to really take off.


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“We see light at the end of the tunnel, and it is coming soon,” Avelo’s Founder and CEO, Andrew Levy told CNBC. “We stand in a great place to get started here, and especially being up and running for the summer peak season, which should be good.”

Avelo’s low-cost approach is providing unbundled air travel options at industry-low prices to offer customers new levels of flexibility. Introductory one-way fares start at just $19, and individual fees accompany checked luggage, carry-on bags, priority boarding, in-cabin pets and preferred seating location.

“After more than 20 years of steadily shrinking consumer choice, the American flying public wants and deserves more options and lower fares,” Levy remarked. “Avelo offers both—along with a refreshingly smooth and convenient experience.”

Avelo chose BUR as its first base because of its convenient proximity to Greater Los Angeles, its flyer-friendly smaller size and lower costs. It’s a part of Levy’s start-up strategy that proven successful before. Touting more than two decades of airline leadership experience, Levy previously was Co-Founder and President of Allegiant Airlines, which launched its service out of small airports in the late 1990s. He afterward served as CFO of United Airlines, a role he stepped out of in 2018.

He sees great advantages in starting off operations at smaller-scale, lesser-volume airports. “It takes a long time to get there, you have long lines, and there are a lot of headaches and hassles,” he said. “Small airports, quite honestly, are just simply a better experience and I think all customers would agree with that.”

Anyone who has passed through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) can attest that the experience—the round-the-clock crowds, the confusion, the lines, the long waits, trekking across concourses, trying not to miss connecting flights—can be enough to bring a person right to the edge of a nervous breakdown.

By comparison, BUR is refreshingly hassle-free, with easy curbside pickup and drop-off, smaller crowds, shorter walking distances from the airport entrance to passenger gates, speedy baggage offloading to carousels and shorter TSA-screening lines. And, it’s actually closer to many Los Angeles-area attractions, including Hollywood, Downtown L.A. and Pasedena.

Avelo’s inaugural routes focus on providing direct service to places with outdoor recreation opportunities, national parks, and areas with coastal and mountainous terrain; all of which are projected to be popular with the leisure crowd over the summer months. To reach these regions, travelers typically are routed through major hubs, but Avelo now offers an appealing alternative.

Initially, service is being offered between BUR and Arcata-Eureka, Santa Rosa and Redding, California; Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona; Eugene, Bend-Redmond and Medford, Oregon; Pasco, Washington; Ogden, Utah; Bozeman, Montana and Grand Junction, Colorado.

Avelo’s starting off with a fleet of three single-class, next-generation Boeing 737 aircraft and plans to add another three this summer. Flights opened for booking today, with departures starting April 28 and currently available through September 15.

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