Avelo Airlines launched its first flight from Hollywood Burbank Airport to Santa Rosa California. Andrew Levy who is a former top executive for Allegiant and United, says that the airline aims to become a “softer, gentler, kinder” budget airline.
What makes Avelo unique is that it goes for routes that don’t have competition. If not, it chooses the ones with no completion when the airline announced its flights. Alaska Airlines added the Burbank-Santa Rosa when Avelo announced its flight.
Avelo Airlines is offering cheap fares but charging extra for seat assignments and its carry-on and checked bags. According to Levy, “you pay for the things that you value”.
Avelo Airlines’ Delayed Launch
The launch was delayed for six months because of the pandemic. According to Levy, he felt that it was hard to start an airline during the pandemic when travel demand was down. He said that “I’m sure that there were people that thought, ‘Man, this is not a good idea anymore’”. He also added that the airline was able to raise the funds before the pandemic when “everybody’s making money”. Levy described the pre-pandemic trajectory of the airline industry as “10 straight years of consistent profitability”.
However, the pandemic isn’t all bad for the airline industry, especially for startups. Airport space has opened up. Also, airplanes and parts are cheaper given the decrease in travel demand. Levy said that Avelo paid one-third of the pre-pandemic price for their two recent planes. That is equivalent to saving millions of dollars.
Levy said, “that’s why I feel really good about this”.
What makes Avelo different? Checked-in bag fees are at $10 for now. The going rate for other airlines is at $30 or even $35. And also, the fare starts at just $19. And also, the airline runs three Boeing 737-800s.
This isn’t a bad time for the startup airline since the CDC eased their advisory on individuals who completed their vaccination. Also, the travel industry is picking up as millions are now vaccinated.
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