By Winston Shek
Avelo Airlines Launches New Flight From Santa Rosa, Calif. to Las Vegas
On Thursday, Avelo Airlines announced the latest addition to its route network, a flight from Santa Rosa-Sonoma County, Calif. to Las Vegas, amid recent cuts to the airline’s flight schedule.
The flight from Santa Rosa to Las Vegas operates four times per week on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, from September 16, 2021. On the leg from Santa Rosa to Las Vegas, the aircraft departs at 10:05 a.m. and arrives at 11:45 a.m. Meanwhile, on its leg from Las Vegas to Santa Rosa, the aircraft departs at 12:25 p.m. and arrives at 2:05 p.m.
“Our expanded service at STS demonstrates Avelo’s commitment to providing the Bay Area with more choice and affordability in air travel,” Avelo Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy said of the route in a statement. “This new route makes it easier than ever for our Customers to visit the entertainment capital of the world from the region’s most convenient and relaxing airport.”
Meanwhile, flights from Santa Rosa to Burbank see twice-daily frequencies on Mondays, and Fridays, with an additional flight departing Burbank at 6:05 p.m. and arriving at Santa Rosa at 7:30 p.m. On the return, the flight departs Santa Rosa at 8:20 p.m. and arrives at Burbank at 9:40 p.m.
Avelo Airlines intends to utilize its Boeing 737-800 on the routes, which has 189 economy seats, 60 of which offer varying amounts of extra legroom. Currently, the carrier’s fleet includes three Boeing 737-800s, with three incoming Boeing 737-700 aircraft destined for Avelo Airlines’ east coast operations.
In the past, Allegiant Air and Sun Country have both attempted to fly the route Avelo Airlines is looking to launch.
In May 2016, Allegiant Air commenced a flight from Santa Rosa to Las Vegas twice per week, though that flight was terminated in July 2017, according to the North Bay Business Journal.
“Their overall load factor is not where they would like it to be,” stated Jon Stout, airport manager at Santa Rosa.
Additionally, Sun Country started a seasonal flight from June to October in 2018, which saw a frequency of up to three times per week, according to The Press Democrat. Per Jon Snout, the route was not delivering the passenger counts Sun Country desired, amid an increase in capacity to 186-seat aircraft, results which Avelo Airlines will need to turn around.
Furthermore, Alaska Airlines operated daily flights from Santa Rosa to Las Vegas through regional carrier Horizon Air from 2008 to 2012. However, as recently as 2020, the Seattle-based airline was considering new flights between Santa Rosa and Las Vegas, a potential future competitor on the flights.
The new point-to-point route represents a pivot in the carrier’s strategy, from Avelo Airlines’ use of bases at underserved airports. In April, Avelo Airlines announced its first base in Burbank to eleven destinations in the western U.S., launching its inaugural flight later in April.
“Certainly focusing on secondary airports in big metro areas is an opportunity we think is ripe and that we expect to pursue,” Andrew Levy, CEO of Avelo Airlines said at the time in an interview with AirlineGeeks. “Burbank, to me, might be the best airport in the country. It’s certainly the best secondary airport in the country. It’s a great place to start. There are quite a few large metro areas in the United States that have viable secondary airports. Not every big metro area has them, but many of them do. And that’s interesting to us because, in most cases, either these are airports that are underutilized or they’re just unutilized.”
In May, Avelo Airlines announced its initiative to establish its first East Coast base in New Haven, Conn., investing $1.2 million to upgrade the airport’s terminal facilities. The airline plans to base three Boeing 737-700 aircraft at the airport, with an operation to primarily Floridian destinations by November, according to ThePointsGuy.
Last week, according to ThePointsGuy, Avelo Airlines dropped two routes from its network, terminating flights to Grand Junction, Colo. in August, and flights to Bozeman, Mont. in September. The Houston-based airline is evaluating its Phoenix route to Mesa/Gateway Airport for winter flying, removing it from its schedule after September. However, all of these routes have a chance to return for summer 2022, according to Avelo Airlines.
“The airline business comes down to flying when and where our customers want to go – safely, comfortably and at the right price,” the airline said in a statement. “Just like every other airline, we will continuously adjust our schedule – adding and removing capacity to match Customer demand, preferences, and seasonal travel shifts. As part of our schedule extension through January 2022, we’ve made several adjustments to better align with when and where our customers want to fly.”
Furthermore, Avelo Airlines fine-tuned its schedule at many of its initial markets, cutting frequencies to points like Ogden, Utah and Medford, Ore. However, the low-cost carrier hinted at several new West Coast destinations coming in the “near future,” one of which is Las Vegas.