Full Details: US Startup Avelo Airlines Launching April 28

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Even during these unprecedented times, there are two new US airline startups that are nearing launch. I guess ultimately the timing isn’t half bad, since domestic travel is rebounding quickly.

One of those airline startups is Breeze Airways, founded by the same guy who started JetBlue. The other airline is Avelo Airlines, founded by another experienced airline executive. While most of us thought Breeze would be the next airline to launch, it looks like Avelo is beating Breeze to the punch, as the airline will start service later this month.

Avelo Airlines reveals 11 routes out of Burbank

Avelo Airlines will be launching flights out of Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) as April 28, 2021, with fares starting at just $19 one-way for all routes. The airline promises low fares coupled with a smooth and convenient travel experience, flying nonstop unserved routes between Burbank and 11 destinations across the Western US.

Initially the airline will offer flights from Burbank (BUR) to the following destinations, all of which focus on outdoor recreation, and which range from 387 miles to 885 miles:

  • Arcata/Eureka, CA (ACV) — 4x weekly as of May 19, 2021
  • Bend/Redmond, OR (RDM) — 3x weekly as of May 13, 2021
  • Bozeman, MT (BZN) — 4x weekly as of April 30, 2021
  • Eugene, OR (EUG) — 4x weekly as of May 12, 2021
  • Grand Junction, CO (GJT) — 4x weekly as of May 9, 2021
  • Medford, OR (MFR) — 4x weekly as of May 9, 2021
  • Pasco, WA (PSC) — 3x weekly as of April 29, 2021
  • Phoenix / Mesa, AZ (AZA) — daily as of May 3, 2021
  • Odgen, UT (OGD) — 6x weekly as of May 4, 2021
  • Redding, CA (RDD) — 3x weekly as of May 20, 2021
  • Santa Rosa, CA (STS) — daily as of April 28, 2021

Flights will open for bookings at aveloair.com starting at 11AM EDT today (Thursday, April 8, 2021). Initially flights will be bookable for travel as of April 28, 2021, with current availability through September 15, 2021.

Avelo Airlines baggage fees

Avelo Airlines is an ultra low cost carrier. While fares will start at $19 one-way, the airline will offer unbundled fares, meaning you’ll have to pay extra for things like bags, seating, and more. Avelo Airlines is promising “industry-low prices” for ancillaries:

  • A first checked bag costs $10
  • A carry-on overhead bag costs $35
  • Priority boarding costs $10
  • A pet in the cabin costs $95
  • Customers can pre-reserve window or aisle seats starting at $5, and extra legroom seats starting at $18

Avelo Airlines Boeing 737-800

Avelo Airlines will fly Boeing 737-800s. So far the airline has two of these, which are 13-15 years old. Each 737 will feature 189 seats:

  • There will be 129 seats featuring 29″ of pitch, which is among the tightest you’ll find on any carrier
  • There will be 60 seats featuring 31-38″ of pitch, which can be reserved starting at $18

Who founded Avelo Airlines?

Avelo Airlines was founded by Andrew Levy, an experienced industry executive. He was the former co-founder and president of Allegiant Air and CFO of United, so he knows what he’s doing. As Levy describes the motivation behind the airline:

“Avelo has a simple purpose — to Inspire Travel. People are ready to reconnect with family and friends and explore new places. Avelo is a different and better kind of airline, built from scratch to offer an affordable, convenient and caring travel experience.”

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

It’s also stated that the leadership team at the airline has a total of over 200 years of collective aviation experience, with other executives having held senior roles at Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Northwest, and Spirit.

My take on Avelo Airlines

What a fascinating airline startup, as this isn’t exactly what I was expecting. When I heard of Avelo Airlines, my assumption was that the airline would offer a variety of point-to-point routes with no real hub.

However, instead we’re seeing the airline launch nearly a dozen routes from a single hub. And we’re not talking about some inconvenient airport that people are willing to fly out of if the fare is low enough, but rather we’re talking about one of the most convenient “city” airports out there, which is Burbank.

Interestingly Burbank doesn’t really have any ultra low cost carrier competition, so Avelo Airlines will have all of these markets to itself. I’ve always thought that airlines never really took full advantage of Burbank’s convenience, since I know so many people would go out of their way to fly out of this airport.

As the airline evolves, I’m curious if it will keep expanding at its Burbank hub (is there even enough gate space?), or if expansion beyond this will be out of places other than Burbank.

Bottom line

It’s pretty incredible to see how quickly Avelo Airlines will be launching. As of April 28 the airline will be launching service, initially flying to 11 outdoor recreation focused destinations in the Western US. We knew the airline was coming soon, but I didn’t expect it to happen this quickly.

How cool to see a new ultra low cost carrier based out of Burbank Airport. It’s the most convenient airport for many in the Los Angeles-area, and the airline is launching with some awesome destinations.

What do you make of Avelo Airlines?

  1. This actually seems like a solid business model. Obviously it’s a low cost airline so YMMV, but on the surface it looks like fantastic news for those who live “off-the-beaten-path”. I have a friend who lives in Eureka and it’s an absolute nightmare for her to fly anywhere. Now it could be 1 stop to most locations.

  2. It’s about time an airline started making checked baggage cheaper than carry-on baggage!

  3. The routes seem bizarre. Living in Los Angeles for ten years there are plenty of people who live in the Hollywood area that would prefer to fly out of BUR instead of fighting the LAX traffic but these are people going to SFO , OAK , SJC , LAS etc. Maybe that’s the goal ultimately.

  4. Burbank is a very convenient airport for many LA-bound travelers and these destinations are very interesting choices. The frequencies involved pretty much dictate that these will be mostly leisure routes; however, this is a great option if you need to get to/from one of these smaller cities to LA at a reasonable rate and in a fairly large jet (for these markets).

    One example that I’m familiar with: Ogden, which would serve travelers from N. UT (north of Salt Lake City). This airport is a convenient place, with cheap (if not free) parking and convenient access to I-15. It’s a much easier trip than going to SLC if you live anywhere from Layton northward – including Brigham City, Logan/Cache Valley, and even far SE Idaho. People do travel to Southern California from these areas. Grand Junction would be a little different in that it’s a standalone that already has some regional service. However, this is mainly to hubs on regional jets – so again this is service that fills a niche that’s currently underserved.

    Not as familiar with the dynamics of places like Pasco/Kennewick or Redmond, but I’d imagine that the dynamics could be similar to GJT, only with Alaska/Horizon dominating those markets.

  5. @D3kingg These routes are likely for people who live in these smaller cities that likely don’t have direct routes to the LA area, let alone any cheap ones. It’s very similar to Allegiant’s model with many of their routes out of Vegas, Phoenix-Mesa, Florida, etc. I doubt people in Vegas and Phoenix were interested in flying to places like South Bend and Cedar Rapids, but people in those smaller cities would be more inclined to take a ULCC directly rather than having to drive to fly out of Chicago or have a layover in Atlanta. After all, the airline is being started by the co-founder of Allegiant, though let’s hope Avelo has a better maintenance record than Allegiant had with its MD-80s.

    Since they only have 2-3 planes and will likely aim for fast turnaround times, they should be able to squeeze into the limited gate space at Burbank. My guess is they’ll share B4 with Spirit, as they’re only operating to/from BUR on Fridays and Sundays at the moment (might increase post-COVID). IIRC, B1 is Delta, B2-B3 is United, and B5 is Alaska, and they are usually rotating planes in and out throughout the day. Nearly all of A is Southwest with A7-9 being rotated between WN, American, and JetBlue.

    The new Burbank terminal can’t come soon enough! I know it will have the same amount of gates, but it should also be a bit more flexible as some gates are too short for even the 737-800. But the people downwind of BUR keep holding it up because of noise complaints.

  6. Looks like they have a sound plan. Great airport and going to niche markets where they really won’t have a ton of competition.

  7. @Sel, D “Santa Rosa for outdoor recreation? Wine tasting I suppose…”

    Probably not.

    Unlike Ben’s contention that “And we’re not talking about some inconvenient airport that people are willing to fly out of if the fare is low enough” Santa Rosa IS an inconvenient airport that some SF residents might be willing to fly out of to LA if the fare is low enough.

  8. @Reaper Santa Rosa alone has a population of almost 200,000, and the surrounding area gets that up to over 200K. The flight isn’t for people who live in SF but rather those already in Santa Rosa who would rather take a direct ULCC flight out of their home airport rather than drive to OAK/SFO. Might be tough to fill a 737, but with prices low enough (and may service a few days a week rather than daily), it could be enough to fill the planes in both directions (with people in LA perhaps wanting a more direct route to wine country).

  9. Santa Rosa isn’t just a gateway to wine country. From there you can access the entire northern California coast – Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties especially. It’s a beautiful stretch of coast with lots of cute b&bs and outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, etc. Most of the other destinations on the list are similar – it’s almost as if they sat down and said “where would someone stuck in the LA area want to fly to for a weekend of outdoor recreation?”

  10. @Reaper:

    Perhaps for it’s inconvenient for SF-based flyers, but Sonoma County (and beyond to Mendocino County) has a lot of potential in O/D traffic. There’s a ton of wine money resident in them thar hills/vineyards as well as folks with weekend homes. It’s not a coincidence that UA, AS, and AA all had flights from STS pre-COVID. And SFO is inconvenient for a lot of North Bay residents that don’t want to slog down the 101 and deal with SF traffic. Of course, will that wine money fly an LCC? Remains to be seen.

  11. @Juan, @DCA Will Always Be “National”,

    Either you’re kidding yourselves, or your North Bay boosterism is showing. The population of Marin/North Bay/Wine Country is tiny compared the pop south of the Golden Gate & south/east of the Richmond & Carquinez bridges.

    This is a “young Southwest” ULCC play for attractive fares at a somewhat inconvenient airport for the vast majority of people in the area.

  12. This is amazing. I love going to North Coast but the drive is brutally long. It will be great to be able to get up to Santa Rosa. That means I get to take advantage of my wine club memberships in Sonoma 🙂
    Also, interesting option to get up to Arcata/Eureka. This is another beautiful gem of the California coast with redwoods, rivers, etc. Spent some time there last summer and fell in love with the area. I wish more LA people left their SoCal bubble. There used to be a United (I think?) daily direct service to there from LAX, but it looks like that got the axe because of COVID.

  13. I hope the airline is very successful and prospers. It success will lead to jobs is the sepplemtal companies that will benefir from the air travel.

  14. @Reaper look at some of the routes Allegiant operates, like South Bend, Fort Wayne, Toledo, etc. These cities are the same size or a even smaller than Santa Rosa. Do you think people in Florida or Vegas want to travel to those towns? Nah. But people in those cities do want to travel to Vegas, Arizona, or Florida on a nonstop flight rather than driving to Chicago or Detroit, let alone taking a regional flight to have a layover elsewhere. That’s the demand Avelo is trying to capture.

    They can look at the data and see how often people from Euguene, Santa Rosa, and other places are looking at traveling to LA to begin with, and see if they can capture that demand with no competition. And by offering cheap fares, they can also create demand that wasn’t there. This is how ULCCs have been successful in the past. It’s literally the method Allegiant used when it started. I don’t know if they will be that successful, but the founder does have a good history in the airline industry to making a profit so maybe he can make it work.

    Also, I’m not even from or live in Northern California, I have no reason to defend it lol.

  15. @Reaper I don’t understand why you are so adamant that Santa Rosa is a bad idea? Sonoma County alone has a population of 500,000 people. And for many people in Marin, Napa, and Mendocino, STS is more convenient than SFO and OAK. Not to mention it’s a joy to fly in/out of STS, with cheap, convenient parking and much smaller crowds.

    All the big airlines fly regional jets to cities and towns that are much smaller than the 750,000+ people who live within an hour drive of Santa Rosa. It’s a totally viable airport and that’s why we’ve seen Alaska, American, and United growing there. It’s also in the center of a major tourism area, so there is a lot of interest in flying into the area from other parts of the country.

  16. I thought airlines used those algorithms that estimate route demand by looking at online booking services to find underserved markets. I think a lot of people assume people sit down around a desk and throw random point to point destination ideas around until there’s consensus. I think it’s far more analytical and fact based. Just a guess.

  17. This is going to be tough. You have to sale a lot of seats every week all year long. These markets will have small numbers at times. So it will be hard to cover cost. Probably won’t make it for long but I hope they do.

  18. I live in San Francisco – I think I might want to drive up to Santa Rosa Airport and then fly down to Burbank for the day. less than $50 round trip sounds like a good deal!

  19. I live in SLC, UT and would definitely fly out of Ogden to Burbank in order to save $$.. BUT I’m not a fan of Allegiant, so I will probably wait to see Avelo in action before I book anything.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.