LAKELAND, Fla. — For the primary time in additional than a decade vacationers can now fly out of Lakeland Worldwide Airport.

About 130 excited passengers booked the very first Avelo Airways flight from Lakeland to New Haven, Connecticut on Thursday. Many residents like Grace McDonald are over the moon in regards to the airport bringing again industrial flights.

“I like to do day journeys. I prefer to discover a airplane ticket, fly to the airport for the day, keep a number of hours and are available again the identical day. I try this fairly usually,” mentioned McDonald. “After I discovered that Lakeland was beginning industrial air service, I used to be like good, I’ll simply get on the inaugural flight.”

Earlier than air service may start, the airport underwent $3.6 million in upgrades, together with increasing the safety screening checkpoint, car parking zone modifications, and ramp enhancements.

The ultra-low-cost provider will supply flights twice weekly on Thursdays and Sundays. Airport director Kris Hallstrand mentioned it’s a game-changer for Polk County residents, who will now not must be caught on I-4 to get to the closest airport.

“Our associates in Tampa and Orlando have nice companies, however the visitors is horrible. With our communities rising and our presence in Polk County getting bigger, it solely is smart to have one other handy choice for our residents,” Hallstrand mentioned.

One factor lacking from Lakeland Worldwide Airport is a spot to eat. Waco Kitchen, the airport’s solely restaurant shut down in April. The airport is presently in search of a brand new meals vendor.

“We’ve got a concessions space contained in the safe space however exterior the secured space there isn’t a restaurant presently,” Hallstrand mentioned.

Avelo’s major focus is offering flights to smaller city cities.

“If you happen to actually speak to prospects they just like the simplicity, ease and velocity of small airports like this. We expect for our prospects on each ends of this route from Connecticut and from right here, as soon as they fight Lakeland they will find it irresistible and preserve coming again,” mentioned Jim Olson, Avelo Airways spokesperson.

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