A year and a half after Avelo’s first commercial flight, the airline has revealed its fifth – yes, fifth – base: Raleigh Durham. It’ll station one 737 at the airport from February, joined soon after by a second. Avelo has served Raleigh Durham since May 2022, when its first route (from Tweed New Haven) began, and will start six Florida routes. The new base joins others at Orlando, Tweed New Haven, Wilmington (Delaware), and Burbank.

Avelo adds six Florida routes

The six are listed below. Naturally, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa have hefty competition. Still, Avelo seems to be capitalizing on the exit of Spirit (Fort Lauderdale), JetBlue and American (Orlando), and Frontier and JetBlue (Tampa). If these well-established and well-known airlines, especially the ULCCs, can’t make them work relative to other opportunities, can Avelo?

Meanwhile, three routes are unserved, although Fort Myers and West Palm Beach recently had airlines. It’s brilliant to see more nonstop routes, although the history of Fort Myers, in particular, as I show later, leaves something to be desired.

Avelo Raleigh Durham to Florida

Image: GCMap.

Welcome, Sarasota!

Based on the USA’s Department of Transportation data, the 625-mile (1,006km) link between Raleigh Durham and Sarasota has never been served. Now it’ll have 3x weekly 737-700 flights.

Despite no nonstops, booking data reveals that about 13,000 roundtrip passengers flew via a hub between January and August this year, or 27 passengers daily each way (PDEW). This excludes any passengers leaked to other Florida airports.

The ~13,000 is a good base to build on by stimulating demand through nonstop fares, low fares, and strong promotions. Assuming it can capture 50% of the market, it’ll need to at least double the market to achieve a 90% seat load factor.

Avelo Airlines Boeing 737

Photo: Avelo.

Raleigh Durham to Fort Myers

It is surprising that this route isn’t currently flown, but it has been. According to OAG, Delta flew it between November 2010 and April 2011. It returned in December 2016 and ran until January 2020, with an average seat load factor of just 68%, according to the DOT. At this time, it was against Frontier (November 2018-April 2019), which did similarly poorly SLF-wise (66%).

When both exited, JetBlue began (November 2020-June 2021). Despite being a time with burgeoning domestic leisure demand, its SLF was just 32%.

Notice how none of the trio lasted long. Will Avelo be different? It is a good-sized market of ~24,000 passengers January-August 2022, but this is just one part of the equation, and there are many one-stop alternatives.

Avelo Boeing 737 Wing and Tail Livery

Photo: Avelo.

And West Palm Beach

Raleigh Durham has only relatively recently had nonstops to West Palm Beach. They were by Frontier (November 2018-October 2019), another route that didn’t last long, thanks in part to a 72% SLF. Like all ULCCs, it needs very high SLFs to offset lower fares. West Palm Beach had 23,000 Raleigh Durham passengers in the first eight months of 2022. Will it be the second time lucky for the route?

What do you make of it all? Let us know in the comments.

Source: simpleflying.com

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