November 3, 2021
Aflock of state and local officials, media and airline enthusiasts greeted the launch of Avelo Airlines’ first flight from Tweed New Haven Airport on Wednesday.
Two costumed sports mascots and dozens of airport staff and well-wishers were also on hand to send off the flight, Avelo’s first of scheduled non-stop flights to Florida destinations.
The flight took off on time at 11 a.m. bound for Orlando, according to Tweed officials.
Wednesday’s launch featured remarks from Gov. Ned Lamont, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and newly re-elected New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker. Local media and Tweed board members were among those boarding the inaugural flight, which took off at 11 a.m. for Orlando.
After years of decline, Tweed’s fortunes are set to turn around and bring an economic boom to the region, speakers agreed.
“In the last couple of days as I look out of my office and I look at those, it's been pretty surreal for me,” said Tweed Executive Director Sean Scanlon, gesturing at the shiny Avelo 737 700 planes sitting on the tarmac. “This is part of the Connecticut comeback, having vibrant air service for the southern half of the state.”
PHOTO | LIESE KLEIN
Gov. Ned Lamont and dignitaries cut the ribbon ahead of boarding of Avelo Airline's inaugural flight from Tweed New Haven Airport.
Avelo CEO Andrew Levy christened the plane scheduled for the inaugural flight as “Spirit of the Havens,” in honor of the airport’s location in both New Haven and East Haven.
“This starts a new era of choice, low fares and convenience for the residents of Connecticut,” Levy said. Sales have been strong for the airline’s tickets to Florida and may lead to the addition of more destinations within months, he said. Flights to Sarasota were added earlier this month in response to consumer demand, he said.
The Avelo service is a first phase of a proposed expansion of Tweed into a regional transportation hub as part of a $100 million investment by operator Avports. The New Haven Board of Alders approved a new lease to allow for the expansion in September.
Speaker after speaker stressed the potential economic impact of increased air service in and out of New Haven.
“This is part of something so much bigger,” Lamont said. “ Regional airports are a big part of our economic future. This is a big plus for us.”
“This is a great day for our economy,” added Bysiewicz. “When businesses choose to locate in a new place, they look for convenient airports.”
Also on hand for the launch were a half-dozen or so “airline nerds,” young men from across the country who traveled by plane, train and automobile to New Haven to be there for Avelo’s first flight.
“I love doing the inaugural flights and the festivities around them,” said Bryce Rea, who took four separate flights to get to New Haven from Joplin, Mo., for the launch. First flights also perform well on his Youtube channel, Skylite Productions, Rea added.
Emiliano Padilla of iTripReport flew up to New York from Miami and then drove to Tweed for the event.
“We like flying, it's our thing,” Padilla said of his fellow enthusiasts. “Especially a new airline, you get to share the excitement of everyone on the plane.”
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