Americans have traveled the most in over a year, and soon they will have two new leisure-oriented airlines to consider those trips.
Both want to attract passengers by burying small strands in the cobwebs of airline routes across the United States.
Avelo Airlines announced Thursday that it will begin flying from Burbank, California to 11 destinations later this month. The startup plans to add other routes to the west as soon as the fleet of three Boeing 737s grows.
Avero was started by long-time airline executives who believe there is room for other low-cost carriers in addition to some low-cost carriers already on the market.
“Low-cost carriers offer too few seats in the United States, so I think the opportunity is huge,” said Andrew Levy, Chairman and CEO of Avelo. “Customers want a very cheap way to move from point A to point B.”
Waiting on the wings is David Neeleman’s latest work, Breeze Airways, which helped launch WestJet in Canada before founding JetBlue and the Brazilian airline Azul.
Breeze will fly “Ignored and forgotten” marketIncludes many things that larger airlines have abandoned. Breeze is currently operating a test flight to the Federal Aviation Administration, which will announce route and fare details next week and may carry passengers in May.
Plans for both airlines began before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, but they were just as long-time returning Americans were about to break out and travel again, as in 2019. Has started. Today, more than a million Americans fly daily for nearly a month, and the number is expected to increase this summer.
The last new US airline was Virgin America. It began flying in 2007 and disappeared after Alaska Airlines purchased it for $ 2.6 billion in 2016.
Levy, a former Allegiant Air and United Airlines executive, has finally fulfilled his long-held dream of launching an airline.
Avelo’s strategy comes directly from the low-cost carrier playbook, first created by Southwest Airlines in the 1970s and copied by others, including Allegiant. Part of that strategy involves sticking to a secondary airport that is less costly and less crowded. Airplanes will land, carry new passengers, take off quickly, and spend less time on the ground in the air.
“It’s not that it hasn’t happened before. It’s just that it hasn’t happened for a really long time. Stay away from the very large airports as much as possible,” says Levy.
One of Avero’s first destinations, Ogden, Utah, “is a great, convenient and easy-to-navigate airport,” he says. “There are many people in the country who are not or at least inadequately serviced. These are the markets we target.”
Allegiant is currently the only airline flying to Ogden, only from Phoenix, but there are about 12 airlines competing in nearby Salt Lake City.
Avero’s first flight on April 28 is from Burbank to Santa Rosa in the Northern California Wine Country. Alaska Airlines travels to Santa Rosa from John Wayne Airport, which is about a 90-minute drive from Burbank, but no other airlines fly that route.
The airline will fly a 189-seat Boeing 737-800, which is plentiful and a bargain in the used plane market, Levy said. Airplanes will not have access to in-flight internet access, at least this year.
Avelo was launched with a promotional fare of $ 19. Like other low-cost carriers, Avelo charges extra for many options that go into overhead bins, such as assigned seats and carry-on baggage.
Emerging airline costs are “very easy to predict. Revenue is a difficult part,” says Levy. If Avelo meets its revenue goals, “it will definitely be profitable by the end of this year and 2022 will be a profitable year.” This is similar to a prospect analyst for a major US airline, a known product with an established customer base.
Breeze doesn’t elaborate on where to start, but the airline suggests it’s in the southeast, including Florida, a popular destination for leisure travelers. Neilman says the timing is right.
“Currently, there is a lot of leisure traffic. Many people are vaccinated and young and healthy people say,’I’m fine,'” Neilman said in an interview. “There is probably more disgusting demand than there are vacant seats.”
In contrast to Avero, Breeze begins with a smaller plane, the 118-seat Embraer E-190, which leases, including those from Azul. Neilman said the low operating costs of small planes will help his new airline succeed on routes that others are passing or abandoning.
“You can get 20% to 25% less travel expenses than where others are,” he said. “We have small planes, so it may not make sense to them, but for us we can enter all the meaningful markets around the world.”
Neilman says there are “hundreds” of such overlooked routes. He states that about 80% of the airline’s capacity will be located on routes with only indirect connections, without other direct flights.
Breeze hopes to increase passenger traffic as it pivots to the slightly larger Airbus A220 jet later this year. Like Avero, Breeze planes don’t have separate cabins for first-class or business-class seats, but Neilman doesn’t rule out when his airlines start flying larger Airbus planes. Hmm.