PORTAGE, Mich. — West Michigan travelers looking to head down south have something to look forward to.
The Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport announced on Thursday it is adding a new airline that will provide nonstop service to Orlando beginning this fall.
The new destination will mark the third direct flight for the airport, and the first to the southern part of the country.
The airport director said they estimate it will attract 17,000 to 18,000 new passengers a year.
“The community desires nonstop flights to Florida, and certainly nonstop flights to Orlando is certainly a good way to kick it off,” said Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport’s Director Craig Williams.
Craig Williams, the airport’s director said the need has been present for a long time.
“This will reinvigorate us. Certainly we have great air service now, but this is certainly going to be an improvement and an improvement in air service in the way that the community wants it,” said Williams.
Avelo Airlines started up last April. It is the first new airline to join the market in 15 years.
Their focus? Inspiring travel.
“We heard loud and clear from the market research that we did that Kalamazoo wants to get to Florida, more directly versus connecting through some of these bigger hubs that other airlines fly to, and at a very affordable price,” said Avelo Airlines Head of Communications Jim Olson.
#HAPPENING: The Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport has announced they are adding a new airline to provide direct flights in Orlando, Florida.
— Lauren Kummer (@LaurenKummerTV) July 28, 2022
The fare starts at $59, and the flights will be offered two times a week on Mondays and on Fridays.
“A lot of airlines who are low cost airlines have a negative halo over their head of not necessarily you get a low fare, but you kind of get what you pay for. With us, we were trying to break the mold of that reputation that low cost carriers have,” said Olson.
Avelo Airlines said they’re highly reliable, with a 99% completion rate since starting up, meaning barely any cancellations.
They credit that success to their surplus of pilots and direct flights.
“We also have a very good on-time performance record as well. One of the ways we are able to do that is because we have a very simple business model. We don’t connect through airports,” said Olson.
Olson said because of that there is less chance passengers lose their bags.
The places are Boeing 737’s that can fly up to 189 passengers. That amount of people is more than the flights currently offered at the airport through Delta and American Airlines.
“I’m asking the community to go out there and look at look at Avelo and purchase flights there, because with their success will come the community success and more air service,” said Williams.
The first flight is scheduled to take off October 26, 2022. Tickets are already on sale and can be purchased through Avelo Airlines’ website.
This is the schedule: