A new airline, Avelo, is ready for takeoff

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Avelo will debut with a fleet of three Boeing 737-800s, each of them with 189 seats in a single cabin.
Avelo will debut with a fleet of three Boeing 737-800s, each of them with 189 seats in a single cabin. Photo Credit: Avelo Airlines

Avelo Airlines, a new ultralow-cost carrier (ULCC) based out of Burbank Airport in Southern California, will launch service on April 28.

The carrier, founded by former Allegiant president and United CFO Andrew Levy, will begin with 11 routes from Burbank on a fleet of three Boeing 737-800s. The new carrier, which says it is backed by $125 million in private equity, expects to expand to a fleet of at least six planes by the end of the year.

Initial routes from Burbank focus on the leisure segment and like Allegiant also concentrate on small markets, serving city pairs that currently have no nonstop service. From Burbank, Avelo will initially fly to Phoenix Mesa Airport; Eurkea, Redding and Santa Rosa, Calif.; Ogden, Utah; Bozeman, Mont.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Bend, Eugene and Medford, Ore.; and Pasco, Wash. Frequencies will range from daily on the Phoenix and Santa Rosa routes to three times per week to Bend, Pasco and Redding.

Tickets are now on sale.

Avelo will distribute through direct channels only. It won’t sell in GDSs.

“We’d love for travel agents to book us – they can do that through our website,” Levy said when asked for comment on the airline's distribution strategy.

Avelo will be the first new airline to launch in the U.S. this year as the Covid-19 pandemic loosens its death grip on the travel industry, but it’s not expected to be the last. Breeze, the latest startup for JetBlue founder David Neeleman, received DOT certification in March and is now awaiting FAA certification. A launch with approximately 15 118-seat Embraer E195 regional jets is slated for later this year. Like Avelo, Breeze plans to offer low-cost service, connecting midsize city pairs.

Avelo’s launch has come quicker, in large part due to not having to obtain new certification. Instead, Levy purchased the charter airline Xtra Airways in 2018 and is using that certificate for Avelo.

• Related: Allegiant CFO says the airline is on strong footing

The carrier is beginning service with introductory fares of $19 on all routes. It will follow an unbundled fare model typical of a ULCC. First checked bags will cost $10. Carry-on bags that can’t fit below a seat will cost $35. Reserving an aisle or window seats will cost an extra $5.

Avelo won’t charge for food and beverage service. Instead, all flyers will receive a convenience package containing bottled water, a small snack and hand sanitizer.

The carrier will configure its 737-800s with 189 seats in a single cabin. Of those, 129 will offer 29 inches of space between rows, or pitch. By comparison, standard rows on Frontier and Spirit have 28 inches of pitch, while full-service carriers typically offer 30 or 31 inches of economy pitch.

Avelo aircraft will also have 60 seats with pitch ranging from 31 inches to 38 inches that can be purchased at an extra charge, which starts at $18.

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