DALLAS – Expanding its footprint in the US, Avelo Airlines (XP) opened its third U.S. base this week at Orlando International Airport (MCO).
The carrier expects to create up to 150 MCO-based jobs, and as the airline brings additional planes online over the next five years, that number could rise to 500 new positions. The Houston, Texas-based ultra-low-cost carrier that began flying in April 2021 employs 200 pilots and flight attendants across its system.
In addition to Orlando, Avelo operates bases at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) and Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN) in Connecticut.
Avelo Airlines Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy said, “Our new base will enable Avelo to serve more destinations, add more flights, operate more airplanes, fly more customers and employ more Crewmembers in Orlando. Avelo’s rapidly expanding presence here will be a significant source of new
visitors to Orlando — creating significant economic impact across the region.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said, “The expansion of air service is vital to our community and economy and that is why Orlando is honored that Avelo Airlines has chosen Orlando International Airport as its third U.S. base. We look forward to seeing Avelo grow and create new jobs for our residents.”
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Chief Executive Officer Kevin Thibault said, “Orlando International Airport prides itself on offering the traveling public options in both airlines and destinations. What we’re getting with Avelo is an additional access point for business to the popular northeast corridor from our region.”
Three Boeings at MCO
According to the airline, Avelo will initially base three Boeing Next-Generation (NG) 737 jetliners at MCO. One plane is a 147-seat 737-700 and two are 189-seat 737-800s. Across its entire system, Avelo flies 10 Boeing 737NGs. XP expects to expand to 15 aircraft by 2023.
Over the next 12 months, Avelo plans to fly to 15 nonstop destinations from MCO. By 2027, Avelo expects to base 10 aircraft at MCO serving up to 50 nonstop destinations.
With the opening of its MCO base today, Avelo now serves three popular nonstop destinations from Orlando: Southern Connecticut via Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN); Washington, D.C. via Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI); and Wilmington, N.C., via Wilmington International Airport (ILM).
New Orlando Training Center
Avelo also said it is consolidating its Pilot and Flight Attendant training in Orlando. Initial and recurrent training for all Avelo Pilots and Flight Attendants will be facilitated by Avenger Flight Group (AFG). Training will begin this fall, and the new Orlando training facility will be completed next spring.
Previously, Avelo conducted this training at separate locations sometimes by separate companies. The new AFG-based training will provide opportunities for collaborative learning and training in areas such as leadership, evacuation simulations, and customer service.
Bases – Not Hubs and Spokes
The airline promotes some of the advantages of developing its route structure around bases rather than on a typical hub and spokes system. For instance, Avelo flights start and end every day at their respective base, enabling Crewmembers to sleep at home every night rather than in hotels.
Avelo’s model also allows mechanics to inspect every aircraft every evening when it returns to its respective base, contributing to the airline’s reliability. The airline notes that since launching 14 months ago, XP has canceled less than 1% of its flights.
Also, the absence of hubs eliminates the risk of XP customers missing their connection or having their bags delayed or lost at a connecting hub.
Featured image: Michael Rodeback/Airways