Avelo to end flights from Dubuque to Las Vegas

An airline offering flights out of Dubuque Regional Airport will end air service to Las Vegas in January.

Airport Director Todd Dalsing confirmed to the Telegraph Herald on Tuesday afternoon that customers no longer will be able to book flights with Avelo Airlines between Dubuque and Las Vegas after Jan. 6.

Avelo began air service from Dubuque to Las Vegas in September, joining the flights the airline had been offering from Dubuque Regional Airport to Orlando, Fla., since March.

Dalsing said low demand and the increasing costs of air travel were the main factors driving Avelo’s decision to cancel air service between Dubuque and Las Vegas.

He stressed the decision does not impact Avelo’s ongoing service between Dubuque and Orlando.

“I’m disappointed in the decision,” Dalsing said. “We look forward to continuing to work with Avelo, and we will continue to work and collaborate to expand offerings in Dubuque.”

Avelo Communications Manager Courtney Goff likewise noted low demand drove the decision to cancel Las Vegas flights.

“We know customers in this area have several options for Las Vegas, and unfortunately our route was not utilized enough,” she wrote in an email. “We are still going strong with our nonstop service to Orlando, and those flights are available for booking through April 30, 2024.”

A city press release states that customers who booked Avelo flights to Las Vegas after Jan. 6 are being notified by the airline about refunds or vouchers. Customers also can reach customer support at 346-616-9500 or Aveloair.com.

The airline already had canceled flights to and from Las Vegas that were scheduled for Nov. 29, Dec. 2 and Dec. 6. citing a low number of bookings.

Molly Grover, president and CEO of Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, said it is common for airlines such as Avelo to alter their areas of service in response to low demand.

“It’s not uncommon for air carriers to evaluate their network and make adjustments where it is needed,” Grover said. “It sounds like that is what has happened here.”

Avelo Airlines announced last year its plan to start offering nonstop flights to and from Orlando, marking the return of commercial air service to the Dubuque airport following the departure of American Airlines in September 2022.

As part of the efforts to bring Avelo to the community, the city of Dubuque and Dubuque County each agreed to contribute $500,000 to a minimum revenue guarantee agreement to be used by Avelo to offset initial investment costs for coming to Dubuque.

The airline requested the last of the remaining available funds from that agreement in September.

No additional minimum revenue guarantee agreement was made for Avelo when it announced service to Las Vegas, the release notes.

Mayor Brad Cavanagh said Avelo’s decision will not stop local officials’ efforts to bring back daily commercial service to the Dubuque airport. The city received a $1.5 million federal grant earlier this year toward its efforts to attract a new carrier.

“We are still full steam ahead,” he said. “We’re going to continue exploring every possibility.”

Asked if the news of Avelo suspending flights to Las Vegas could influence other airlines’ willingness to come to Dubuque, Cavanagh said, “I think everything that happens with the airport is being watched by the airlines.”

However, Cavanagh also stressed that current challenges facing Dubuque Regional Airport also are being seen nationwide. He believes air service in Dubuque will improve in the coming years.

“It’s going to be a long road for us to do this, but I continue to be hopeful,” he said.