Avelo adds direct flight from Brownsville to Las Vegas

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The Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport hosted a celebration and ribbon-cutting Friday morning to mark the first nonstop, direct flight from Brownsville to Las Vegas aboard Avelo Airlines 737, which departed at 11:45 a.m. for Harry Reid International Airport five miles south of downtown Las Vegas.

The new route was announced on June 22, five weeks after Avelo inaugurated direct, nonstop service from Brownsville to Burbank, Calif., and Orlando, Fla., routes the airline announced in February. The Houston-based airline, which started in April 2021, chose Brownsville as its first destination in Texas. Avelo added Las Vegas as its sixth base of operations on Sept. 7. Besides Burbank and Orlando, the airline has bases in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., New Haven, Conn., and Wilmington, Del.

“Since that first flight in April 2021, we’ve completed over 25,000 flights, carried over 3 million customers across five bases all throughout the U.S.,” said Trevor Yealy, head of Avelo’s commercial department.

Since launching service to Brownsville in May, Avelo has sold more than 17,000 tickets to California and Florida “and completed 100 percent of our flights,” he said.

“We look forward to continued growth with this Las Vegas route, and we look forward to continuing the great partnership with the team that we have here,” Yealy said. “We definitely believe there’s a lot of opportunity down here. I don’t have a next destination for you right now, but we will continue to evaluate options. We certainly see a lot of potential. My goal for the foreseeable future is to get these three routes up to as many flights per week as we can.”

He said the Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley market has proved “really strong.”

“We’ve seen great load factors for the first three months of these routes, which is what gave us the confidence to add Las Vegas in the first place,” Yealy said. “It’s been really good. We’re excited.”

Brownsville Mayor John Cowen cuts a blue ribbon during an inaugural Avelo Airlines flight from Brownsville to Las Vegas surrounded by local dignitaries at Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport Friday morning. (Miguel Roberts | The Brownsville Herald)

The Brownsville-Burbank flights are on seasonal hold as of Sept. 7 but will return Nov. 1, and service to Florida and Las Vegas will continue year round, he said.

One-way tickets to Las Vegas are available at an introductory rate of $69, with twice-weekly service Mondays and Fridays. Yealy said Avelo’s business model is based on affordable fares and reliable service to “highly convenient airports.”

Brownsville City Manager Helen Ramirez said the airline’s presence here “diversifies and strengthens our economy” while serving not just Brownsville but the entire Valley region.

Ramirez and Mayor John Cowen paid a visit to Avelo’s CEO and executive management team soon after Cowen took office to demonstrate Brownsville’s commitment to the partnership, which Cowen described as “more than just a business alliance,” adding that the visit to Houston was much appreciated by the company’s leadership.

“We were the first city to go visit them and make that personal connection,” he said. “I think that means a lot, and I think that’ll build dividends for us going forward.”

Cowen said he’s received no hints from the airline about any additional service it might bring to Brownsville, though he’s optimistic about the possibilities.

“I think they have a list of potential destinations that they’d like to pursue, but we’ll take it one step at a time,” he said. “I think the future is definitely bright.”