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Lakeland Gets First Air Service in 10 Years

Avelo gives Lakeland its first regularly scheduled flights in over a decade.

Avelo’s 737-800 aircraft in Burbank (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ryan Ewing)

Lakeland, Fla. has seen a troubled past in terms of commercial airline service with carriers starting and stopping service, with many instances of the airport going carrier-less for many years at a time. They were without service from 1980 until 1987, 1988 to roughly 2006, 2008 to 2011, and finally 2012 until the present day. These service gaps are due to a variety of reasons from lack of demand, to the airlines serving them going bankrupt.

An Avelo Airlines Boeing 737-700 at Tweed-New Haven. (Photo: Avelo Airlines)

Back in the winter of 2023, Avelo announced its intentions to serve the airport with a broad Spring 2024 timeline as the start date. But on the morning of March 27, 2024, the carrier finally announced a start date; June 13, 2024, with flights operating twice a week to its Northeast base in New Haven, Conn.

The most recent airline to operate flights to Lakeland was DirectAir, which operated to Lakeland from three cities beginning in 2011. But this ended shortly after in 2012 when the airline went into Chapter 7 liquidation. It is interesting to note this isn’t the first DirectAir city that Avelo has started, as the airline does fly another former DirectAir route from Orlando to Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Avelo crew and members of airport staff at the inaugural party in Kalamazoo, Mich. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

Lakeland is located about halfway between Orlando and Tampa, the first of which already houses a sizeable Avelo base offering flights to at least 10 destinations. The airline also flies from Tampa, but only to three destinations. Avelo has a reputation for starting service to cities that airlines had forgotten, with the most famous example of this being its base in New Haven as it is the only airline flying to this city.

As previously mentioned, Avelo flights to Lakeland, Fla. starting on June 13, 2024, and will operate to New Haven twice a week. Flights show up on its website as “Orlando/Lakeland,” despite actually being closer to Tampa than it is to Orlando.

Joey Gerardi

Author

  • Joey Gerardi

    Joe has always been interested in planes, for as long as he can remember. He grew up in Central New York during the early 2000s when US Airways Express turboprops ruled the skies. Being from a non-aviation family made it harder for him to be around planes and would only spend about three hours a month at the airport. He was so excited when he could drive by himself and the first thing he did with the license was get ice cream and go plane spotting for the entire day. When he has the time (and money) he likes to take spotting trips to any location worth a visit. He’s currently enrolled at Western Michigan University earning a degree in Aviation Management and Operations.

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