Lakeland Linder International Airport will offer commercial passenger flights

The airport will ink a deal with Avelo Airlines to offer passenger service from Lakeland Linder as early as summer of 2024.

An Avelo Aircraft sits on the tarmac with the word "Avelo" painted on its side

You could soon take off on a plane without having to leave Lakeland.

Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Avelo Air

Start planning those summer getaways. Officials at Lakeland Linder International Airport (LAL) have reached an agreement with Avelo Airlines. The City Commission unanimously approved the deal on Monday, Dec. 18, meaning the airport and the airline will enter into a 15-year, non-exclusive agreement starting May 1, 2024.

The decision comes with a $3.4 million price tag to install security screening areas, add additional parking areas for customers, and build a maintenance bay for Avelo’s planes. The airport will save on the upgrades by not adding traditional gates — instead, passengers will board via covered, wheelchair-accessible ramps.

LAL requested the city to cover the costs with a loan and plans to complete the upgrades by mid-May 2024. That means you might be able to take flight by June.

An exterior view of the loading ramp for an Avelo plane

No gates, no problem — here’s what boarding an Avelo plane looks like.

Here’s the million-dollar question: Where will these flights go? The destinations are yet to be announced, but Avelo currently has 40+ destinations across the US. The low-cost airline (think: Less than $60 for some one-way fares) typically flies into smaller airports near larger cities. Here are a few of its current destinations that we would love to visit:

  • Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and other Florida cities
  • Bozeman, MT where you can live out your “Yellowstone” dreams
  • Nashville, TN, the capital of country music and bachelorette parties
  • Sunny San Juan, Puerto Rico, the airline’s only current destination outside of the continental United States

How do you feel about the announcement? Where are you hoping Avelo will fly to from Lakeland? Here are the top 10 locations our readers are hoping will be on the flight plan:

  • Greenville, SC
  • New Haven, CT
  • Asheville, NC
  • Columbus, OH
  • Wilmington, DE
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Key West, FL
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • Nashville, TN

If you chose Greenville, New Haven, Wilmington, Philadelphia, or Nashville, you might be in luck — these are already some of Avelo’s current destinations.