David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways plans to launch its inaugural service on May 27 with flights between Charleston, South Carolina; Tampa, Florida; and Hartford, Connecticut. The airline entrepreneur’s latest low-fare startup, which dubs itself as a “seriously nice” carrier, on Friday unveiled its debut network consisting of 39 nonstop routes between 16 cities in the Southwest, Midwest, Southeast, and Eastern U.S.
“These 16 cities are just the beginning for Breeze,” said Neeleman. “The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the nation’s air service have meant many secondary markets and smaller cities have seen a significant reduction in flights. There are so many city pairs needing nonstop service around the country; we have a further 100 cities under consideration. Flying nonstop, Breeze will get you there in half the time, but also for about half the price.”
Friday’s announcement marks the start of Neeleman’s fifth airline start-up, after JetBlue, Brazil’s Azul, Canada’s WestJet, and Utah-based Morris Air. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Breeze will concentrate its flight operations at four main airports: Tampa, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; New Orleans; and Norfolk, Virginia.
Breeze plans to operate 13 single-class Embraer E-Jets this summer, flying routes with an average flight time of under two hours. Ten E190s jets leased from Nordic Aviation Capital will seat 108 passengers and the three ex-Azul E195s will seat 118.
Originally planning to start services last year, Neeleman changed course due to Covid-related market uncertainties. Rather than source the bulk of its E-Jets from Azul, Breeze took advantage of falling lease rates by signing with Nordic Aviation Capital for 15 E190s. A Breeze spokesman declined to comment on whether or not the airline amended the contract with NAC to reduce deliveries to 10 airplanes. NAC has not yet responded to AIN's request for comment.
Next, Breeze expects to start taking delivery of 60 new Airbus A220 narrowbodies in October and accept an average of one per month over five years. The A220 routes, which Breeze plans to reveal this autumn, will extend beyond two hours’ flight time. The A220s will include a premium cabin, called "Nicest" seating, in a two-by-two configuration at the front of the airplane. The remainder of the aircraft will feature a standard two-by-three seat configuration.