US regional airport Tweed New Haven (HVN) is one of the most underserved in the country but needs to expand in order to keep pace with demand, according to Jorge Roberts, the CEO of its management company Avports.
Avports is leading a $100 million capital improvement program at HVN, which serves as startup Avelo Airlines’ first East Coast base. The airline launched operations from the Connecticut destination in November 2021 and this week is inaugurating its first four flights to Southeast points besides Florida from the airport.
The growth increases Avelo’s network to 14 destinations from HVN, up from six routes—all to Florida—when the base opened last November.
Avports’ Roberts said HVN hopes to attract more carriers and new routes to stem the leakage to other points in New England and New Jersey. However, the expansion of its terminal will be key to its ambitions.
“Tweed New Haven is one of the—if not the—most underserved airports in the country,” Roberts told Routes. “We’re in one of the most densely populated places in the US. The closest airport is to the north at Bradley Hartford, which is over an hour away.
“But the majority of the traffic has been leaking to the south to New York, towards JFK and Newark. However, the drive there can also take two or three hours depending on the time of day.”
Tweed New Haven is located about 60 mi. south of Hartford’s Bradley International (BDL) and 80 mi. northeast of New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) and John F. Kennedy (JFK) airports.
Avports secured a new 43-year lease agreement on the airport last September and outlined plans to extend the length of the runway from 5,600 ft. to 6,635 ft., as well as constructing a new four-to-six-gate passenger terminal.
“We’re going through the environmental process at the moment and we’re hopeful that we’ll have approval in place by the summer,” Roberts said. Further planning approvals will then be needed before any work can start.
HVN was Avelo’s second base and first East Coast base when it opened in November. Earlier this month, the airline announced it will open a third base in Orlando this June.
Avelo operates five 147-seat Boeing 737-700 aircraft at HVN. Two of these aircraft arrived at Tweed within the past few weeks to support the East Coast growth.
The carrier is currently the sole provider of scheduled service from the airport. American Airlines previously offered flights to Philadelphia (PHL) but ended the route last September.