Avelo Airlines is growing in a big way at North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).
The airport in the Research Triangle region will be home to the ultra-low-cost startup’s fifth crew base in February when the carrier will launch service to six Florida cities. While the region is a major population center, it’s not a hub for any airline. Delta Air Lines considers the airport to be a focus city, where it has 30% of the domestic market share.
Avelo hopes it can shake things up with its new Florida routes.
Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free biweekly Aviation newsletter.
The routes and starting dates are as follows: Orlando International Airport (MCO) on Feb. 2; Tampa International Airport (TPA) on Feb. 3; Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) on Feb. 16; Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) near Fort Myers on Feb. 16; Sarasota Bradenton International Airport on Feb. 17; and Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) on Feb. 17. Introductory fares are $29 one-way for the RDU-to-MCO route and $39 one-way for the five other routes, and are bookable now on Avelo’s website.
Avelo’s new RDU routes in purple and its existing one in light blue. CIRIUM
“Establishing RDU as Avelo’s fifth base will enable us to bring affordable and convenient nonstop access to even more destinations,” Avelo CEO Andrew Levy said in a statement. “We appreciate the warm reception Avelo has received from Raleigh, Durham and surrounding areas – we look forward to bolstering our presence in this vibrant community with the opening of Avelo’s new base here in February.”
Avelo will be the only airline serving RSW, SRQ and PBI from RDU, but will face fierce competition on the three other new Florida routes. On the FLL route, Avelo will compete with JetBlue, Delta and Southwest Airlines. Flying to TPA, Avelo joins service from American Airlines, Delta and Southwest. Avelo faces the most competition for Orlando, which also happens to be another of the airline’s bases. It will go head-to-head with Delta, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
Initially, the airline will base a single Boeing 737 aircraft at RDU, and has committed to basing a second 737 there in the second quarter of 2023. As of last month, the airline had 11 737 next-generation models in its fleet — a mixture of 737-700s and 737-800s, and expects to have 16 by the end of March. Long term, the airline said that it hopes to base five to seven aircraft at RDU.
The airline expects to create at least 50 jobs at RDU including pilots and flight attendants as well as maintenance and customer service personnel.
In addition to RDU and MCO, Avelo’s other crew bases are at Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR), Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN) and a forthcoming base at Wilmington Airport in Delaware (ILG). Avelo already serves RDU from HVN, and will continue that service.