As Dubuque Mayor Brad Cavanagh spoke to a crowd of business leaders at Dubuque Regional Airport this afternoon, an announcement for flight passengers interrupted him over the loudspeaker.
“Don’t you love that sound?” he said with a laugh.
Avelo Airlines’ first flight to Dubuque Regional Airport landed this afternoon, with a Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting to mark the occasion.
The airline will provide service between Dubuque and Orlando International Airport on Wednesdays and Saturdays on a Boeing 737 aircraft, which can hold as many as 189 passengers.
“We’re super excited to welcome Avelo to the tri-state area,” Airport Director Todd Dalsing told the Telegraph Herald. “This isn’t just about Dubuque. It’s about everyone within our 40-mile radius.”
Avelo Airlines initially planned to begin offering air service out of the Dubuque airport Jan. 11. However, that flight was canceled after the airport did not secure Transportation Security Administration approval of a complete security plan. In the interim, Avelo operated its planned Dubuque flights out of Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids.
Dubuque Regional Airport previously operated with a supporting security program under the TSA, which is required for airports offering flights with 60 or fewer passengers. However, with the increase in passengers that can take a single Avelo flight, the airport needed an approved complete security plan.
Dubuque airport officials confirmed earlier this month that they had obtained the needed TSA approval and that flights were ready to begin today.
Avelo’s arrival marks the return of commercial air service to Dubuque Regional Airport after American Airlines stopped service in September.