ASHEVILLE – A small carrier may begin offering commercial flights between Asheville Regional Airport and Vero Beach, Florida, on that state's eastern coast.
Spokeswoman for Elite Airways and Asheville Regional said Monday the two sides are in talks for Elite to fly the route.
"A definitive agreement has not been finalized," said Tina Kinsey, head of public relations and air service at Asheville Regional. Elite spokeswoman Rebecca Ayers said the same thing.
With a population of about 16,400, Vero Beach is not a major destination by itself but its airport is within a 90-minute drive of larger communities like Melbourne and West Palm Beach.
Discount carrier Allegiant Air offers nonstop flights from Asheville Regional to four Florida airports, including Orlando-Sanford. It charges fees for many services like credit card use and part of its business model is selling hotel rooms or car rentals along with its flights. Allegiant has steadily added flights between Asheville and Florida since it first began serving Asheville in 2011.
Elite's website says when it was founded in 2006, its goal "was to move away from the discount and legacy carrier services that were focused more on the bottom line than a quality travel experience." It does not charge fees for flight changes or the first checked bag.
Based in Portland, Maine, Elite operates service between a handful of airports in the Northeast and in Florida, three routes in the Midwest and one between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Melbourne.