Americans are traveling in quantities not seen for more than a year and will soon have two new low-cost airlines.
Both hope to attract passengers by covering smaller routes on the network that spans the United States.
Avelo Airlines said Thursday it will begin flying to 11 destinations from Burbank, California this month. The new company plans to add other routes in the western United States as its fleet of Boeing 737s increases.
Avelo was launched by a veteran airline executive who thinks there is room for low-cost airlines alongside those already on the market.
“There are too few seats offered by low-cost airlines in the United States. That’s why we think the opportunity is huge, “said Avelo President and CEO Andrew Levy. “Passengers really want a cheap way to get from Point A to Point B.”
Waiting to go is Breeze Airways, the new brainchild of David Neeleman, the executive who helped launch Canada’s WestJet before founding JetBlue and Brazilian airline Azul.
Breeze plans to fly to “neglected, forgotten” destinations, including many that have been abandoned by the big airlines. Breeze is conducting test flights for the Federal Aviation Administration and may announce details about its routes and prices next week and begin transporting passengers in May.
Plans for the two airlines began before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, but both will kick off as Americans seek to resume their travels after more than a year of lockdowns. More than 1 million Americans have been flying every day in the last month and the numbers are expected to rise in the summer.
The last new airline in the United States was Virgin America, which began flying in 2007 and disappeared after being acquired by Alaska Airlines for $ 2.6 billion in 2016.
Levy is a former Allegiant Air and United Airlines executive who has finally achieved a years-long dream of launching his own airline.
Avelo’s strategy stems directly from the low-cost airline manual initially written by Southwest in the 1970s and copied by others, including Allegiant. Part of the strategy is to limit yourself to secondary airports, which have lower costs and less congestion – planes land, take on new passengers and take off quickly, spending more time in the air and less time on the ground.
Breeze has not specified where it will begin operations, although it has hinted that it will be in the southeastern United States, including Florida, a popular destination for leisure travel. Neeleman says the time is right.
“The pleasure traffic is insane right now. Many people have been vaccinated and the youngest and healthiest people are not afraid to travel, ”Neeleman said in an interview. “There is a lot of pent-up demand, probably greater than the number of seats available.”