Breeze Airways is a new airline that will launch in the US in the coming months, and it’s founded by the same person behind JetBlue. While the airline was initially supposed to launch in 2020, the timeline for that has (understandably) been pushed back to 2021, as we learned a couple of months ago.
Well, some more details about the airline have now been made public, in the form of a filing with the Department of Transportation.
Here’s everything we know about Breeze Airways so far:
“Moxy” was announced in 2018
David Neeleman is the founder of several airlines, including JetBlue. He hasn’t worked at JetBlue since 2008, and in 2018 he announced that he planned to launch a new airline in the US.
In July 2018 his new airline placed an order for 60 Airbus A220-300s, with deliveries expected to start in 2021.
While Moxy was used as the working name when the airline was first announced, we knew all along that the carrier wouldn’t necessarily operate under that name.
Breeze Airways was revealed in early 2020
In February 2020 it was revealed that Neeleman’s new airline would be known as Breeze Airways. The branding for the airline has since been revealed, and the livery certainly does stand out. I can’t decide whether I like how unique it is, or if it already looks outdated.
Earlier this year Breeze Airways started the process of applying for an Air Operator’s Certificate with the US Federal Aviation Administration.
Breeze Airways will launch in March 2021
Breeze Airways was supposed to commence operations in 2020, though understandably the pandemic has delayed things a bit. Even though it will potentially take years for a recovery, Breeze still plans on moving forward with launching flights.
As far as the progress the airline is making:
- Breeze Airways plans to launch scheduled passenger flights in March 2021
- The airline was first going to start with charter services, but given that there’s less demand for charter services (especially with sports teams), this no longer makes sense
- The airline is currently in Phase 3 of the certification process with the Federal Aviation Administration
- The airline started pilot training last week (September 21, 2020)
Breeze Airways’ initial route plans
Breeze Airways seems to have a specific plan for the routes it will launch, but it’s not making those plans public yet (which is understandable, for competitive reasons).
When Breeze Airways launches operations:
- It will fly from an airport in the southeast to four airports in the northeast, and from another airport even further south to four airports in the northeast, southeast, and southern plains
- In the months to follow, it will increase operations from the two initial airports in the southeast, and add a third airport
- By July 2021, it plans to increase service from existing airports, and also fly from another airport in the southeast to airports in the northeast, southern plains, and mid-Atlantic
Breeze Airways’ fleet plans: Embraer 190/195s, Airbus A220s
The long term plan is for Breeze Airways to fly Airbus A220s, though initially the airline will lease Embraer 190s & 195s from Brazil’s Azul. This is mutually beneficial, as Azul is looking to get rid of those planes anyway, in favor of new Embraer 195-E2 jets.
With the latest plan:
- Breeze Airways will launch operations with Embraer 190s & 195s in March 2021, and the airline will already get the first of these planes in late October 2020
- Breeze Airways will take delivery of its first Airbus A220-300 in August 2021
Like I said, the Embraers are a temporary solution, and the plan is for Breeze’s fleet to eventually consist exclusively of A220s.
Breeze discloses that the Embraers will feature 108 to 118 seats, which suggests the planes will stay in the same configuration they currently have with Azul, which is a one cabin layout with an extra legroom economy section.
Breeze Airways’ business model
In many ways the US aviation market was already crowded before coronavirus, so what will make Breeze Airways different?
On the most basic level, Breeze Airways plans to operate point-to-point flights between markets that the airline considers to be underserved. This would include mid-size city pairs with no current nonstop flights, and it would also include flying into & out of secondary airports in regions. As Neeleman describes it:
“Breeze will fly nonstop service between places currently without meaningful or affordable service.”
In other words, it sounds like Breeze’s plan is to take a similar approach to route planning at Allegiant, except to offer a better experience.
Historically point-to-point leisure flying was a very different business model than what you found at legacy airlines. However, with business travel having dried up, we’re seeing the “big three” US carriers also launch endless point-to-point leisure routes that they would have never previously considered. This seems to at least somewhat reduce Breeze’s competitive edge.
Neeleman also says that Breeze Airways will be “the world’s nicest airline.” That’s a big statement to make, so we’ll see how that goes.
As far as the passenger experience goes, Breeze Airways plans to be a low cost carrier with a twist:
- The airline won’t have seatback entertainment, but will have streaming entertainment and Wi-Fi (the airline has said that Wi-Fi may be free, but we’ll see)
- Breeze Airways will eventually have first class, and the type of seats may vary based on route; the airline may offer standard first class seats on some routes, and flat bed seats on other routes (it appears that this will apply to the A220s, and that the Embraers that are temporarily used won’t feature first class)
- Technology will be a big focus, and Neeleman has even described the business as “a technology company that happens to fly planes”
Regarding that last point, so many airlines talk about the importance of technology, and how they’ll use that to differentiate themselves, etc. I’m always highly skeptical of the claim, because the reality is that very few airlines truly differentiate themselves on that front.
We’ll see if Breeze Airways is any different.
Neeleman has done a fantastic job with the airlines he has founded, so as consumers we should be excited about Breeze Airways. If nothing else, he’s great at building companies with a great culture, that people enjoy working for. As a customer that’s a big plus.
With the latest plan, Breeze Airways will launch in March 2021. The airline is already starting pilot training, and will take delivery of its first plane in October 2020. The airline will initially operate Embraer aircraft, but should get its first Airbus A220 in August 2021.
I’m also intrigued by the city pairs the airline has hinted at, so if anyone has any guesses, I’d love to hear them!
What do you make of Breeze Airways?