Avelo Airlines is planning to launch an operational base north of the San Francisco Bay Area – and close its base in Las Vegas.
The US start-up carrier said on 30 January it plans to position two Boeing 737NGs and about 50 employees – including pilots, flight attendants and maintenance technicians – at Charles Schulz Sonoma County airport starting on 1 May.
Meanwhile, the carrier is planning to close its base in Las Vegas on 30 April, Avelo tells FlightGlobal. It will continue flying to Harry Reid International airport but determined that Sonoma is a better location for a base because it is closer to Avelo’s headquarters in Burbank, California.
”Also, as a smaller, secondary airport, [Sonoma] is similar to the other small, fast, friendly and easy airports we serve around the country,” the carrier says.
Avelo opened its base in Las Vegas in September 2023.
The ultra-low-cost carrier says it has flown some 300,000 passengers to and from Sonoma since April 2021. It currently flies to four cities from its planned station in Northern California – Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Bend (Oregon) and Palm Springs (California).
Sonoma will become one of six of Avelo’s operational bases in the USA, and part of a strategy that involves flying to underserved medium-sized metro areas and secondary airports near major urban centres.
Avelo also maintains operational bases at Raleigh-Durham International airport (North Carolina), Hollywood Burbank airport (California), Tweed-New Haven airport (Connecticut), Orlando International airport (Florida) and New Castle airport (Delaware).
Amid softening demand for domestic leisure travel and fierce competition among US low-cost carriers, Avelo was recently forced to exit a handful of markets and seasonally suspend several other routes.
Cirium fleets data show that Avelo has 16 737-700s and -800s in service, all between 10 and 20 years old.
This story has been edited to reflect Avelo’s planned closure of its operational base in Las Vegas.