New Haven, Conn. (WTNH) – When it comes to traveling, having reliable options is key to having a stress-free trip. But that can be extremely difficult to find today, with flight delays and cancellations surging since the pandemic. CT Style Host Natasha Lubczenko recently met with Travis Christ, Head of Marketing for Avelo Airlines, to discuss how they’re ensuring reliability, at Tweed New Haven Airport.
Speaking about the industry as a whole, Natasha points out that one in four flights in 2022 were either delayed or canceled. That average takes into account all of the airports that serve the Connecticut area, from Bradley, down to JFK and Newark. Travis agrees that it’s been a challenging environment, and notes that there are several reasons for it. First, there are more flights than ever, he says. Next, the air traffic control systems are under a lot of stress. And and then last, the weather factor comes into play.
“It has been a challenging time for the industry, but everybody is working on it, and doing the best that they can,“ he says, “and so, we’re doing what we can to minimize that.”
Travis highlights some of their high-priority initiatives: “First, investing in our fleet and in our maintenance programs. For example, at our base at Tweed, we have our own maintenance staff.” “We keep a large inventory of spare parts, so that most of the work can get done there, by ourselves.”
This is how Avelo operates at all of their bases, including Burbank, Orlando, Raleigh-Durham and Wilmington, Delaware, as well as at their outstations. They have also prioritized preventative maintenance, which saves money in the long run. They have invested in some of the best third-party maintenance, using Delta check-ups to handle a lot of their work in Florida.
In looking at Avelo/Tweed’s cancellation and delay rates compared to other airports in the area, they are doing really well. Travis says, “The most recent data is in January, and we were the top of the industry. We had fewer cancellations, fewer delays than any other airline. For the airports, again, that are closest to Connecticut and that are serving people in the southern Connecticut region in the fourth quarter of 2022, we canceled less than half a percent of our flights, which is more than 50% better than the next best airport.”
He continues, “..Our flight delays were also less than half of what the other airports were. So there’s advantages to Tweed, of course, being the only airline there, you know, less congestion than others. And we tried to take advantage of that.”
It can be said that some reported delays, industry-wide, are because people are leaving the industry. However, Avelo is hiring. They have created over 300 jobs in Connecticut and that includes pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, all of the airport staff. Travis says, “We have regular job fairs, and we continue to add flights at the airport. The demand has been great. We’re grateful to all of Connecticut and the communities around us have been incredibly supportive.”
Avelo has been in operation in New Haven for a little more than a year, and in that time, they’ve carried over 600,000 passengers. And they’re frequently adding more flights and new destinations.
Travis says, “We’re at 14 cities out of Tweed today. There’s a good chance that we’ll be adding some more coming up for the summer. And so, stay tuned for that. That’ll be very exciting. And we’ve added our new bases around the country. We’re at 14 airplanes today. We should be at about 20 airplanes by the end of 2023.”
You can learn more about Avelo Airlines by visiting https://www.aveloair.com/.