Salem, the state’s capital and the center of the state’s wine region, lacked commercial air service for many years.
However, that is about to alter.
Avelo Airlines, a new ultra-low-cost carrier, announced that it will begin operating flights from the city to its bases in Burbank, California, and Las Vegas.
Starting on October 5, there will be two weekly flights between Salem, Oregon, and Las Vegas, operating on Thursdays and Sundays. Starting on October 6, Avelo will also run twice-weekly flights on Fridays and Mondays between the capital of Oregon and Burbank, California. Starting at $39 are one-way airfares to the two cities.
The ultra-low-cost startup said that because Salem Municipal Airport (SLE) is situated in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the state’s wine region, it planned to begin operating flights from there. Seventy percent of the state’s population resides in the area.
The tweet below also confirmed the news:
Salem, Oregon, to Get Its First Commercial Flights in a Decade
The decision, which came after the city spent millions of dollars preparing its airport for commercial air service, was praised by Salem’s mayor, Chris Hoy.
Commercial passenger air service will facilitate investment in our community and increase accessibility to the outside world for our inhabitants who travel, according to a statement from Hoy.
Salem’s inclusion on Avelo’s map aligns with the company’s business strategy of running flights out of smaller towns that normally have neither commercial air service nor many passenger flights to well-liked vacation spots. Wilmington, Delaware, which has held the distinction of being the only state in the U.S. without any commercial air service, saw the launch of Avelo’s inaugural flight earlier this year.
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If its operations in Salem are successful, Avelo may potentially consider launching flights to San Francisco and Phoenix, according to a report from the Statesman Journal.
Salem has been trying unsuccessfully for the past 20 years to start a commercial air service in the city. Between 2007 and 2008, Delta Air Lines operated a brief flight from Salem, Oregon, to Salt Lake City.
The Atlanta-based carrier, however, quickly dropped the route, blaming the 2008 financial crisis and rising fuel costs. In 2011, SeaPort Airlines, a regional airline that went out of business in 2016, briefly ran flights in Salem as a stopover on its route from Newport, Oregon, to Portland, Oregon.
Avelo CEO Andrew Levy seems confident that the ultra-low-cost carrier could succeed despite previous failed attempts to establish commercial aviation service to Oregon’s capital.
Levy said in a statement that Avelo “makes getting to your favorite destinations easier and more affordable than ever” as the first airline to service the Capital City in nearly 15 years. “Say goodbye to the hassle of long, expensive, gas-guzzling drives to other distant airports, and say hello to a new era of convenience, low fares, and reliability.”
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