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Low-cost Carrier Announces New Nonstop Route At ILM

By Johanna F. Still, posted Jul 27, 2022
New low-cost carrier Avelo Airlines has announced a fourth route out of the Wilmington International Airport. (Photo courtesy of Avelo)
Just one month since its inaugural flights for three new routes at the Wilmington International Airport, low-cost carrier Avelo Airlines has announced a fourth destination. 

Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport will join Avelo’s existing nonstop destinations from ILM, Orlando, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; and New Haven, Connecticut, according to a news release Wednesday.

Each of Avelo’s destinations offers ILM passengers the first direct access to those locations. The airline is the first low-cost carrier ILM has even accommodated, after attempting to court one for years to help boost leisure travel both to and from the market. 

Seasonal trips to Fort Lauderdale begin Nov. 11, with introductory fares as low as $39, according to an Avelo release. The flights appear to be available on a twice-weekly basis, based on the airline’s online booking system. The previous three routes are available on a thrice-weekly basis. 

ILM director Jeff Bourk described south Florida as its “top unserved market.” 

Fort Lauderdale is home to a historic waterfront downtown and accommodates several large cruise lines.

"We are excited to expand our service from Wilmington with this fourth exciting and popular sun-soaked destination,” Avelo Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy said in the release.” With the addition of this exclusive nonstop flight to Fort Lauderdale, getting to the Sunshine State is now even easier and more affordable for Wilmington residents. Avelo’s refreshingly convenient, reliable and caring service ensures our Customers arrive ready for some fun in the sun.”

A startup airline, Avelo is in its second year of service with a fleet of 10 planes. The airline has plans to expand and officials previously indicated it planned to announce new destinations out of ILM if demand for the first-announced routes was strong. 

The new route to Fort Lauderdale can be considered a seasonal replacement for the Baltimore route, which ends in early November, according to Avelo spokesperson Travis Christ. 

Seasonal flights to Fort Lauderdale end on April 28, Christ said, and will pick back up to Baltimore around May. 

It's possible the airline could announce new locations out of ILM in the coming months, but not likely, he said, citing the need to watch the performance of the four destinations. "These things kind of go in cycles and you've got to grow the garden," he said. "We need these guys to grow and bear a lot of fruit. And that leads to more flights."

Bookings out of ILM so far have been "pretty strong," he said. The airline has had to adjust fares to keep up with rising fuel prices, Christ said, but still remains competitive when compared with other carriers.

When booking flights, Avelo offers a "low fare calendar," and the carrier frequently runs steep sales discounts. One-way flights to Orlando during November, for instance, range from $59 to $119, according to the carrier's website; flights to New Haven in August range from $39 to $289.
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