The man who started JetBlue 20 years ago will launch a new airline this year targeting midsize, underserved airports. Called Breeze Airways, the airline will begin operations at the end of 2020, flying to airports in the eastern United States, with plans to go national, and then international.
Breeze Airways is the fifth airline start-up for David Neeleman, and last week, after more than a year of anticipation, he finally made it official.
“Breeze will fly nonstop service between places currently without meaningful or affordable service,” he said in a release. “Twenty years ago, we brought humanity back to the airline industry with JetBlue. Today, we’re excited to introduce plans for ‘the World’s Nicest Airline.’”
Neeleman didn’t offer specifics of how Breeze will be the world’s nicest airline (fingers crossed it will live up to the slogan), nor did he announce airports that would be served. What is clear is that Breeze will borrow from JetBlue’s amenities playbook, and will choose destinations in a similar fashion to Azul Brazilian Airlines, an airline that Neeleman started in Brazil in 2008 (also the year he left JetBlue). Azul has found success in flying to smaller airports in Brazil.
That means there’s a good chance Breeze will not be flying out of Boston, but it could be a boon for airports such as T.F. Green in Providence. It’s one of the airports that’s rumored to be serviced by Breeze. The website Golocalprov.com reported that the Rhode Island Airport Corporation has already met with the team from Breeze. Worcester Regional Airport could be another local possibility.
The airline will be headquartered in Salt Lake City, but in its application for an air carrier’s certificate, the company told US regulators that destinations will be “secondary leisure markets” that are affordable to budget travelers. The application also said that Breeze will begin with routes east of the Mississippi, “primarily north-south.”
Breeze will also differ from JetBlue in that it won’t put its focus on creating hub airports. Most major US airlines have built a model around flying out of their hubs.
“Over the last decade, the major US airlines have consolidated and concentrated their efforts at fortress hubs,” the announcement for Breeze reads. “Resulting in diminished air travel options for entire segments of the country, with many routes now only served by connecting flights.”
Breeze has ordered 60 brand-new Airbus A220-300 aircraft, with deliveries beginning in April 2021, and has leased 30 Embraer 195 aircraft from Azul, which will be delivered starting May 2020. The A220 will be used for nonstop flights between midsize markets, while the E195s, which are plentiful and inexpensive, can connect smaller markets.