Three US airlines took to the sky in 2021, so I take a look at how they’re doing using the latest available information.
Avelo took off from Burbank to Santa Rosa on April 28th, followed by Breeze between Charleston and Tampa on May 27th, and aha! Reno-Pasco on October 24th. I look at their top routes by passengers and seat load factors (SLF) using newly released information from the Department of Transportation's T-100 dataset for November.
Important: it's only a snapshot, and it's not meant to be comprehensive. It's also historical, so things would obviously have changed and developed. The information used is only one part of the performance puzzle, and I'm not privy to internal expectations, forecasts, or other confidential information. Airfares from the Consumer Airfare Report aren't yet available for the fourth quarter, which would provide a better overall picture.
Avelo, Breeze, and aha! carried some 531,592 passengers between their inauguration and November, according to T-100 data, with a combined SLF of 56.7%. However, the figure provided for Breeze would be a bit higher because data for May and June isn't available. The three carriers are broken down as:
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New entrant Avelo initially focused on thin, unserved routes from Burbank using 189-seat B737-800s before venturing east and adding New Haven (with its short runway) to Florida with 147-seat B737-700s.
It carried 53,837 passengers in November with an average SLF of 75.9%. Its network comprised 15 routes: nine from Burbank, four from New Haven, and two from Las Vegas.
Despite only launching New Haven in November, the airport had an 80.2% SLF that month, clearly helped by heavy introductory discounts; it played an essential role in growing SLF, shown in the figure above. In contrast, it was 73.3% for Burbank, especially dragged down by Fort Collins (started in October), Redding, and Santa Rosa. Its top-10 routes by passengers were as follows:
Breeze carried 62,262 passengers in November for a SLF of 63.4%. The carrier focuses on unserved markets and flying on more demanded days of the week to avoid unnecessarily high discounting. Breeze uses 96-seat Embraer 190s and 118-seat Embraer 195s, with its A220-300s taking off soon.
In November, it had 38 routes involving 16 airports. Charleston did better by SLF (71.7%) than Hartford (68.5%), Providence (67.5%), Richmond (67.4%), Tampa (67.0%), Norfolk (65.3%), and New Orleans (59.5%).
Standing for air-hotel-adventure, aha! is the most unusual of the three new entrants. It uses 50-seat Embraer 145s on brand-new and thin routes from Reno up to about 600 miles (969km).
The aircraft are great for having few seats to fill and being very cheap to acquire, but bad for high seat-mile costs and therefore undermining the ability to grow markets through lower fares.
It's not fair to look at aha! in November when it only started in late October. Still, T-100 data indicates it carried 3,852 Reno passengers with a SLF of 47.8%.
aha! had eight routes from Reno, with Bakersfield, 283 miles (456km) away, the largest market. Some 655 passengers were carried (we aren't talking sizable markets) with 26 of 50 seats filled per departure. Spare a thought for Ontario, which had just 16 seats filled on average.
It'd be easy to say Ontario had just started, but they all had, with the differing initial performance levels (by this one measure) intriguing. After all, they're all different markets, and it's often quick to work out how a route will do based on sales in the first 24-48 hours. It'll be great to reexamine it in a few months.
Which of the three carriers have you flown? Share your experiences in the comments.
Which of the three global airline alliances is biggest? Is oneworld now second-largest? In what regions is each airline dominant? I check it out.
Route Development Analyst – James lives and breathes route development. Educated in Air Transport Management at Loughborough and Cranfield, James was Market Opportunity Analyst at London Luton Airport and Chief Analyst at anna.aero. Now writing data-driven analysis for Simple Flying. Based near London, UK.

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