Avelo is axing its routes from its bases in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and Wilmington, Delaware, to Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB), a midsize airport around 50 miles from Orlando. The only Avelo route remaining from MLB will be to New Haven, Connecticut.
Low passenger demand prompted the two cuts, and the startup budget carrier preemptively paused flights to Wilmington (which was supposed to launch on June 28). Flights between Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) and MLB were only at 30% capacity, and the demand for flights to Wilmington was too low for Avelo to even launch those flights, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
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The MLB route to Wilmington Airport (ILG) was originally part of Avelo’s sweeping nine-route expansion at the Delaware airport announced in Apri; it represented the carrier’s single largest expansion since launching in 2021.
However, Avelo now appears to be focusing on its one route left from MLB following the cuts to RDU and ILG.
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“The demand for Philly/Wilmington, DE and Raleigh-Durham, NC did not materialize as expected from MLB. New Haven is performing better, and we are currently flying that route through February 14, 2024,” an Avelo spokesperson said in a statement to TPG. “We’re working with our airport and community partners to determine next steps.”
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While Avelo has carved a niche at several big U.S. airports, some of its strongest footing has come in cities with little to no commercial air service. The carrier’s business model relies on connecting those cities to popular leisure destinations like Las Vegas or Orlando.
MLB, just one of eight airports served by Avelo, is a midsized airport, but it’s well served by other U.S. carriers. Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Sun Country Airlines all operate domestic flights out of the airport along Florida’s “Space Coast.”
More broadly, while Avelo has gained significant momentum in the past year, these latest route cuts aren’t the first for the startup. Earlier this year, Avelo also scrapped routes in Lexington, Kentucky, and Newport News, Virginia, largely for the same reasons.