Avelo Sees If More Than Florida Can Work for New Haven

Avelo

Avelo started in Burbank, and it has made all sorts of network tweaks there to find a path to success. I’m not convinced it has found a way, but its second base in New Haven? That seems like much more of a slam dunk. Now, Avelo is going to test the waters to see just how much further it can stretch that base by going beyond Florida.

While Burbank has seen massive upheaval with several routes being cut, others being announced and not started, and few showing signs of growth, New Haven’s path has been far more clear. The airline launched in early November with less-than-daily service to four cities in Florida — Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa. It added West Palm Beach in December and Sarasota in January. The trajectory has been nothing but up…

Avelo New Haven Departing Seats by Day

Data via Cirium

Last week, Avelo added more frequency growth in Florida starting this summer. This new growth meant Avelo would have to acquire a fourth 737-700 to run its schedule. We looked into this in more detail in Cranky Network Weekly last week, and I’m pleased to share the chart we put together comparing March to July.

As you can see in that chart, the fourth aircraft was very sparsely used. And now, we know what it will be doing to bide its time. In May, Avelo will open up service to 4 non-Florida destinations.

  • Charleston (SC) will operate 4x weekly (Tue/Thu/Sat/Sun)
  • Myrtle Beach will operate 1x daily
  • Nashville will operate 4x weekly (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat)
  • Savannah will operate 4x weekly (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat)

This fits nicely into the available schedule for that fourth aircraft, but… will it work?

These markets all mark the checkbox of “route that has seen good demand growth during the pandemic.” Nashville was hot before, and the rest took off in 2021 as people looked for places to visit closer to home.

Here you can take a look at seat change by market by year.

Domestic Seats % Change by Year

Data via Cirium

Does this mean these routes will work from little New Haven? I don’t think any of us can say for sure, but they are most definitely appealing from a leisure perspective — at least to some, I will never understand the appeal of Myrtle Beach. I imagine those Tuesday flights will be tough, but maybe the weekends have a better shot.

At some point, Avelo is going to have to move on, because there just isn’t much room in that terminal to handle more than this. This seems like a credible effort to build on the success that has already happened in New Haven. If it works, it can help add to the blueprint for future markets. If not, well, there’s always Florida.

48 comments on “Avelo Sees If More Than Florida Can Work for New Haven

  1. One destination that Avelo should’ve added during this round of HVN expansion (and I would’ve done it over BNA) is San Juan. A lot of users on the Airliners.net forums are saying that Avelo would clean up on it if they offer it.

    1. Interesting point.

      Between CT, NY, and RI, there are over 1.3 million Puerto Ricans (~30% of the total PR population in the US), and the vast majority of those would be close enough to HVN to make it a viable option, especially if the price were right. Even those in NYC could take a train from NYC to New Haven and then an Uber to HVN, if Avelo didn’t try to work with a bus company to offer a packaged bus/van service directly between NYC and HVN.

      1. Unless Avelo is able to offer some extremely low fares profitably, it’s unlikely they could attract NYC-SJU passengers, given the amount of service offered from JFK and EWR already (and Spirit’s Saturday-only service from LGA), plus the vast number of connection options.

        I think Avelo’s New Haven base is a great idea, especially since they appear to be getting started before Breeze has a chance to look that way, but they really can’t count on any material traffic from NYC itself. This is good, actually, since they can draw on the southern CT market all the way long I-95, and north to Hartford as long as a specific route isn’t already well-covered from BDL, without offering the kind of absolute garbage fares it’d take to attract large numbers of NYC residents.

          1. I doubt that it’s worth it to get ETOPS certified. IIRC it took WN forever to get ETOPS approval for Hawaii.

            1. You don’t need ETOPS for New England to SJU… or any of the Caribbean for that matter.

        1. There are enough Puerto Ricans in and around New Haven to support the flights. Question is, how many weekly flights, 3, 4, 5? Start with 3 and go from there.

      2. This seems like a great opportunity for Landline. They could mimic what they do for Sun Country at HVN and basically feed in the Northeast.

        1. Exactly. Run a bus/van from, Hartford, Bridgeport, etc, especially (not sure if the market has enough demand to support this) if Avelo could have 2 or 3 flights depart to PR at about the same time, perhaps one to SJU and another to a secondary PR destination.

      3. I don’t see any world in which NYC-area folks will travel to HVN for a flight, even a very cheap one. The Metro North takes 2 hours from Grand Central, plus the time of getting to GCT and then getting to the airport at the other end. Traffic is bad most hours of the day. The Norwegian bus from NYC to SWF was pretty miserable, and that was a shorter journey.

        If Avelo offers a shuttle between the New Haven train station and the airport, that could entice people living along the New Haven line north of NYC to choose HVN over LGA or JFK.

  2. I really like how they’re looking at HVN. While the airport isn’t slot constrained, its most certainly capacity constrained and there will be a limit to the extent to which other airlines can respond. Breeze’s build up in BDL is an example of this response. Not knowing enough about the HVN catchment area, I wonder if Avelo’s carving out a really nice little monopoly for itself in this market. Burbank may end up being a bust but if Avelo can keep finding other HVNs, it’ll have a nice niche.

    1. HPN is not too far away with flights to FL mostly offered by B6. That said, fares are typically higher from HPN than from LGA/JFK/EWR before you factor in other costs (parking, toll, public transit, time etc) with less flight options. I can see folks drive to HVN from HPN area to fly Avelo if the price is right.

      1. > I can see folks drive to HVN from HPN area to fly Avelo if the price is right.

        Absolutely, and I assume pax are already doing just that. White Plains / HPN area to HVN wouldn’t be a super fun drive, but it wouldn’t be THAT bad, especially compared to getting to JFK, EWR, or even LGA at a bad time.

        Consider that HPN charges $30/day for parking, which has been the rate for many years (due for an increase?). When I lived in Westchester County 7 years ago, the $30/year that HPN charged for on-airport parking was more than LGA, JFK, or EWR, if I remember correctly, with the difference that HPN was small enough of an airport that off-airport parking options were limited to non-existent.

        Not sure about HVN and I don’t have hard data on this, but anecdotally it seems that flights from HPN are often among the first to be cancelled due to NYC airspace congestion and weather.

        1. It’s also possible those get cancelled due to the shorter runway, higher visibility requirements (just did a quick glance at the IFR plates) and the fact that it’s likely a lot of RJs flying in and out of there.

          1. Agreed. When I lived in the area and occasionally flew out of HPN, I had one or two incidents where a flight out of HPN was cancelled due to weather, but I was able to get rebooked on a flight out of LGA. Not ideal, but better than missing the trip.

            Also, HPN has some serious noise abatement procedures (have to keep the people in the $$$$$ homes nearby in Greenwich & other areas happy), and is subject to fog around the shore of Long Island Sound.

          2. IIRC, Tweed has a short runway as well. I remember landing in a snowstorm in 1995 and there was very little runway remaining after we landed.

            1. Since 1995 overruns were added, flight paths cleared of trees and utility poles and soon the 352 foot displaced threshold on runway will be moved back. Not a huge improvement, but something. The plan is to go to 6635 feet.

  3. As part of announcement for Avelo starting at New Haven, the airport is committed to build a new terminal and expand the runway. Will it build fast enough to accomodate Avelo’s expansion, which indicated that it would have a fleet of 6 aircrafts serving HVN? We’ll find out.

  4. RE Myrtle Beach:

    Beautiful beach, pier, lots of golf courses & putt-putt/miniature golf, 2 outlet malls, bars & restaurants, endless gun shops & fireworks stands – the all American vacay destination!

    In fact, going there for large family gathering in 10-days (also was last trip before pandemic lockdown in March, 2020; literally weekend before NYC shut down).

    For us, the family’s “March Birthdays” weekend celebration in Myrtle Beach is always eagerly anticipated!

    FWIW, Delta’s pair of MYR-LGA flights on Sunday, March 6th (one of which we’re booked on!) are already heavily booked if the seating charts are any indication, as is the single United MYR-EWR flight in the same date!

    [We’re flying to CLT for the outbound segment, so haven’t been tracking NYC-MYR flights].

  5. *fortunately, everyone fully vaxxed/boosted & testing prior to getting together as successfully done for our recent gatherings. :)

  6. How do you think Avelo will be affected in HVN by the Breeze blowing into BDL? I would think most if not all of the Florida routes will be duplicative.

    IMO Hartford feels more Boston-y and New Haven more New York-y but only 55 miles separates these two airports. Congrats to those who had “Connecticut” as the next low airfare battleground!

    1. BDL is a pain in the butt to get to from the New Haven area. If you’re from a major metro area (I’m on the far outskirts of Chicago), a 55 mile drive isn’t that bad. But CT people think of such distances as a trip unto themselves. I was in Stratford on business a couple of months back (having flown in via BDL) and nobody there even thought of that – they all said HPN or LGA were their go-tos. So, I see New Haven as a different market of sorts. BDL is Hartford/Springfield for a reason: those are the primary areas they serve. I think Avelo and Breeze can coexist.

      1. It’s worth noting that BDL is only about 5 miles from Massachusetts (as the crow flies), but more than twice that distance from Hartford.

        Drive times to BDL from the Hartford suburbs can easily be 45 minutes or more, and I-91 (which connects Springfield, Hartford, and New Haven, and which is one of the primary north/south interstates through New England) can be congested at times.

        1. Driving through Hartford was a miserable experience and I-91 was being widened from Enfield to Hartford when I lived there and that was a mess. Driving down I-91, onto the Turnpike, and then onto surface streets to get to Tweed is a not fun either. At least Bradley has a freeway connecting the airport to I-91. The point is that no one really wants to go out of the way to get to an airport because traffic is a mess.

          I see both Bradley and Tweed as having separate catchment areas. Tweed being the coastal areas (except Fairfield County) and Bradley being from Hartford northward to southern Vermont.

          1. > I see both Bradley and Tweed as having separate catchment areas.

            I largely agree with you on this. However, when it comes to Fairfield County, even the western edges of the CT panhandle are only an hour’s drive (without traffic, I know) from HVN. Norwalk (under the “elbow” of the CT panhandle) looks to have similar drive times (again, not during rush hour) to both LGA and HVN.

            With the exception of those who live in Greenwich or Stamford, for those who live in Fairfield County, HVN wouldn’t be that different from flying out of LGA in terms of travel time to the airport, assuming that they couldn’t get a flight they liked out of HPN…

            Long story short, given how new Avelo is, I doubt many people in Fairfield County are checking Avelo’s fares out of HVN when looking to book leisure trips, but perhaps they should.

    2. I live in CT and honestly if the rise of Breeze and Avelo can make fares out of BDL cheaper I’ll take it. Flying out of there is criminally expensive right now.

  7. How do you think Avelo will be affected in HVN by the Breeze blowing into BDL? I would think most if not all of the Florida routes will be duplicative.

    IMO Hartford feels more Boston-y and New Haven more New York-y but only 55 miles separates these two airports. Congrats to those who chose “Connecticut” as the next low airfare battleground!

    1. Certainly Connecticut is going to be a hotbed of fighting these days, but there’s probably plenty of room there for both.

  8. CHS local here who travels to New England a lot. Love the added service and options… but I hate to see little guys fighting amongst themselves. Breeze is probably the most direct competitor on the HVN-CHS segment because they just opened up CHS-BDL and CHS-PVD.

    Hope they can both make it, but I bet only one of the two will be in the CHS-MidSizedSouthernNewEnglandCity market this time next year.

  9. Hoping that Avelo survives on the West Coast, as I would like to try them out in the future going to Cali. I am wondering at some point if they are going to decide on a mid-continent base, and then perhaps try to connect the (base) dots on their map? Brett, do you have any insight into their future plans to know if this is a possibility?

    1. GS – I don’t think they care at all about connecting their bases. I would assume that with HVN – Florida doing so well, they’d probably be looking for more bases where they could replicate that success. I don’t know anything about that in any detail, but that’s where I’d imagine they’re going.

      1. HVN-MDW-BUR would be a hit, two very large metro areas with lots of O&D passengers. As far SJU, don’t know if the 737-700 has the legs off HVN’s 5600 foot runway.

  10. Wow, one line I read here truly resonates with me: “I’ll never understand the appeal of Myrtle Beach…” Me neither. And, as an airport in a fairly affluent area, I’m not sure that this is the best use of Avelo’s resources. Admittedly, Avelo is going for a budget audience but I think they’d do better to beef up Florida even more or (as said before me) fly to SJU. That route never gets old in CT. Savannah works because it’s the gateway to Hilton Head Island, which is pretty popular with folks in CT. The only obvious destination missing in FL for them right now is something around Orlando (MCO or Sanford would do). Otherwise, you’ve got the east coast and the west coast covered well enough for now.

    I do wish Avelo would gain more traction at BUR, but it appears they’ve found some success at HVN.

    1. They currently fly HVN to MCO. The biggest FL destination missing is JAX (or MIA for those who think FLL and PBI doesn’t cover so fla adequately).

  11. Flying to San Juan involves getting specific certifications for extended over water operations. I’m thinking that as shoestring as Avelo is at the moment, that is a luxury they will pass on for now.

    1. Yeah I mentioned ETOPS above, IIRC it took forever for an airline with as many resources as WN to get ETOPS approved for Hawaii

      1. WN flew to SJU long before they had ETOPS certification to Hawaii (maybe even before they took over the FL international routes if memory serves me right). I believe they waited to go after ETOPS anticipating to use the MAX-8 on the Hawaii routes but that got all messed up in the grounding and they used sometimes seat restricted -800s depending on winds for a while until the ungrounding.

        There are many diversion points between the mainland and SJU (or as mentioned above nearly all caribbean locals are accessible without ETOPS). It might restrict the direct flight paths allowed from HVN but the -700 does have the longest range of all the NGs and the route is just over 3 hrs direct, couldn’t be more than 4 1/2 hrs if they are required to stay close to the coast?

  12. Any speculation on what the BUR trouble is Cranky? Based on my experiences with traffic congestion at LAX, I’d think it would be a slam dunk! Is SWA underpricing them to drive them out?

    1. Tory – It’s just a busy market and there isn’t a huge amount of demand to a lot of the secondary cities they’ve tried.

    2. BUR-STS over Presidents Day weekend was full at least (but not surprising!) I’m closer to LAX but went out of my way to BUR for Avelo with the amazing fares and convenient late evening schedule. Avelo basically created the trip for me – I wouldn’t have driven from SFO or SMF to Sonoma and Alaska isn’t a great option with prices and schedule.

      I think the Avelo model is more successful serving a large population center base (HVN / Connecticut) than the Allegiant-type model of serving small city demand (BUR). There’s too little point-to-point demand from the small west coast cities into LA.

      1. I’m with you except for BUR being a “small city” – it’s right in the center of the LA metro with a population of 12 million people! CT only has 3.5 million people!

    3. I have a personal opinion and observation with Burbank as a whole. I think the markets that are strongest for Avelo is the markets where they added the double legged Las Vegas service. I think the main issue with Burbank has to do with the constraints that Burbank has as an airport. I mean they only have 2 gates, and 3 aircraft. If they had more aircraft, they could service more destinations. I think the other issue with Burbank has to do with the operational challenge of “the curfew.” How many flights can you run out of Burbank that utilizes the “out and back” strategy that Avelo employs which is confined to the operations time frame of 7am to 10pm? I think what Avelo needs to do is admit that Las Vegas is a base of operations and establish another base there. By having a base in Vegas this could allow them to run more flights on the West Coast, get more aircraft to service Burbank during curfew hours, and better service their best markets.

      To me Burbank and New Haven are really 2 different airline operations. New Haven markets to the people of Conneticut, whereas the Burbank flights are about driving traffic from the markets they serve to either Burbank or Las Vegas.

      I currently reside in the ACV catchment area, and I will tell you Avelo is a HUGE player in the ACV market. Word has spread like fire in the community I live in about Avelo and how amazing the service is. To me where they hit the nail on the head was the markets that had MASSIVE demand for where they fly to. ACV has ALWAYS had a large demand for So Cal and Las Vegas service, BUT no one wanted to take a gamble on a twice/thrice weekly service where the route would perform best. BUT outside the 4 double served markets, they really can’t add frequencies to their other cities due to high competition from the likes of Southwest in Eugene and Allegiant in the other markets. They could probubly add a few more markets out of Burbank, but I think its more of a “slim pickings” situation.

  13. MYR makes a lot of sense. It’s a relatively inexpensive destination. GOLF and BEACH. During the spring summer and fall it will be a hit from that area.

    1. Yes, HVN-MDW-BUR would do well. When UA had four 737 flights HVN-ORD back in the 90’s, the two ORD-HVN flights I took were oversold. I like the idea of one flight serving two large metro areas.

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