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Sarasota Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021 3 months ago

Avelo to add nonstop service between SRQ and Connecticut

The airline plans to start its service on Jan. 13 between Sarasota and New Haven.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and Avelo Airlines formally announced Thursday morning the addition of nonstop service to and from New Haven, Connecticut.

Starting Jan. 13, 2022, Avelo will offer roundtrip flights three days a week between Sarasota and New Haven, according to the company’s airport relations spokesperson Bud Hafer.

“We’re particularly pleased today because not only will we expand our lineup of airlines choices, but we’ll be serving a new market and state that has needed nonstop service for some time,” said Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of the airport. 

Hafer has  experience working with SRQ when he worked as Allegiant Air’s manager of airport affairs from March 2017-January 2021.

“I think the previous experience helps because a lot of the relationships you have with them to know that the community is a great community to work with,” Hafer said.

SRQ and Avelo conducted market data studies to determine whether to add service, according to Hafer and Piccolo.

“The Connecticut area was one area that has a lot of market viability here. It had a lot of demand,” Piccolo said. “We also look at property tax records, a pool of second homes here.

“Connecticut was very high on an area that has people that get the property tax records sent to Connecticut, but also have property here as well.”

The Sarasota area’s warm weather is a big draw, Hafer said.

“It’s a little colder up there in New Haven,” Hafer said. “Everybody wants to come down here for the beaches.”

Piccolo estimated Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport would hit 3.2 million passengers by the end of the year.

In August, the airport hit its all-time passenger traffic mark, breaking the old record set in 1990. Through September, the airport had handled 2,219,303 passengers.

“I think that it’s a demonstration of the demand that’s here, so certainly it draws the attention of airline planners from every airline,” Piccolo said. “I think it makes them curious, ‘What the heck’s going on down there?’”

Piccolo said the airport has 11 airlines with 51 nonstop destinations. Three years ago, he said they had six airlines with 12 nonstop destinations.

“(It’s) another demonstration of explosive growth,” Piccolo said.

Piccolo said Avelo would have its own ticket counter.

When asked about the possibility of adding a 12th airline, Piccolo had a clever response.

“There are certainly other airlines, (but) there’s not too many left,” Piccolo said.

Piccolo said the airport’s larger plan is to add another five-gate terminal. He estimated it would cost about $60 million to build the new terminal on the east end of the building, and construction would take between 18-24 months.

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Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

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