Breeze Airways is a new airline from proven industry executives. It’s putting some additional fight and competition into the travel industry recovery.
What Is Breeze Airways?
JetBlue founder David Neeleman is at it again. Following his departure from the New York City-based carrier, Neelman started another successful carrier, Azul (Blue in Spanish/Portuguese), focused on Brazil to US flights. Prior to becoming the founder of JetBlue, he ran Morris Air (acquired by Southwest Airlines) and WestJet.
Breeze is focused on short-haul, underserved markets primarily focused on leisure travel. That is certainly the low-hanging fruit at the moment, but I doubt it will stay that way. The airline’s customer base is similar to JetBlue’s but with a different model. Rather than flying large market to large market (like Boston-Fort Lauderdale), routes will run between unserved city pairs:
“A staggering 95 percent of Breeze routes currently have no airline serving them nonstop.” – Breeze
More on that later.
The airline will utilize (ten) Embraer 190 and (three) 195 jets with 108 and 118 seats respectively, with an average flight time of under two hours. The plan is to expand further the route network and number of passengers with larger and more capable A220s. The fleet will be one of the youngest in the United States.
Instead of Coach, Business Class, and First Class, Breeze will offer “nice,” “nicer,” and “nicest.” The E190/195s will offer inflight entertainment streamed to personal electronic devices but no wifi, that will come with the A220s. Personal items are included in nice, nicer fares, and nicest. Carry-ons and checked bags on nice fares will cost $20-25 depending on length of flight, $50 if added at the airport or by staff.
Where and When Will Breeze Fly?
Breeze is getting right to work. Some flights begin next week, others start in July. I expect they will add many more as new equipment comes online (60 A220s arrive once monthly.) Below is a full list of the routes for which it offers nonstop service from the Breeze press release.
Breeze Airways Destinations
From Tampa Bay, Breeze will inaugurate service on 10 routes, most of which are currently not served:
- Charleston, SC (starting May 27);
- Louisville, KY (May 28);
- Tulsa, OK; (June 4);
- Norfolk, VA (June 10);
- Bentonville/Fayetteville, AR (June 17);
- Akron/Canton, OH (June 26);
- Oklahoma City, OK (July 1);
- Columbus, OH (July 3);
- Huntsville, AL (July 22); and
- Richmond, VA (July 22).
From Charleston, Breeze will inaugurate service to 11 markets, most of which are currently not served:
- Hartford, CT (starting May 27);
- Tampa, FL (May 27);
- Louisville, KY (May 28);
- Norfolk, VA; (June 10);
- Akron/Canton, OH (July 8);
- Columbus, OH (July 8);
- New Orleans, LA (July 8);
- Pittsburgh, PA (July 8);
- Richmond, VA (July 8);
- Huntsville, AL (July 15); and
- Providence, RI (July 22).
From Norfolk, Breeze will inaugurate service on 7 routes, 6 are currently not served:
- Charleston, SC (starting June 10);
- Tampa, FL (June 10);
- New Orleans, LA (July 15);
- Columbus, OH (July 22);
- Hartford, CT (July 22);
- Pittsburgh, PA (July 22); and
- Providence, RI. (July 29).
Beyond these four main cities, Breeze also will operate five routes from Columbus, OH; four routes from Hartford, CT, and Pittsburgh, PA; and three routes from Akron/Canton, OH; Bentonville/Fayetteville, AR; Huntsville, AL; Louisville, KY; Oklahoma City, OK; Providence, RI; Richmond, VA; San Antonio, TX, and Tulsa, OK, including between:
- Bentonville/Fayetteville, AR, and San Antonio, TX (July 15);
- San Antonio, TX, and Oklahoma City, OK (July 15);
- Tulsa, OK, and San Antonio, TX (July 15);
- Hartford, CT, and Columbus, OH (July 22);
- Pittsburgh, PA, and Hartford, CT (July 22); and
- Providence, RI, and Pittsburgh, PA (July 29).
Breeze Airways’ Pittsburgh Flights Are Exciting
The Allegheny County Airport Authority governs Pittsburgh International Airport has been very aggressive over the last few years securing new service. The Pittsburgh-Florida market is busy:
- Fort Lauderdale – JetBlue, Spirit, Southwest
- Fort Myers – Southwest, Spirit
- Palm Beach – Allegiant, JetBlue
- Punta Gorda – Allegiant
- Miami – American
- Sarasota-Bradenton – Allegiant, Southwest
- Orlando – Spirit, Southwest, Frontier, American, and
- Jacksonville (United), Destin (Allegiant), Jacksonville (Allegiant) served seasonally
The absence of the Tampa market makes sense given this context. New Orleans is served by Allegiant, but there’s probably an opportunity for regular service. Charleston is served by three carriers including Breeze. Norfolk, Virginia is served by Allegiant. Hartford was formerly served by US Airways, dropped, then American Airlines, then dropped again. Breeze is restarting the route with larger aircraft than were last used. Providence, Rhode Island is sometimes a stand-in for Boston; JetBlue and Delta each fly nonstop with up to five daily flights compared to Breeze’s (4x) weekly service.
So why is Pittsburgh’s expansion exciting?
First, the need for direct point-to-point is something that OneJet had identified and built, but with less infrastructure before it collapsed. Second, There is demand in the Steel city beyond Florida and airline hubs, something I hope the carrier expands with time. Personally, I know my family will likely try Norfolk, VA where we had a great time last summer and Charleston, SC is on our short list.
The Fight of Domestic Flights
Salt Lake City headquartered Breeze, is igniting a new fight in the US market. It joins Avelo Airlines as a new airline and one that has stated it will expand in the northeast, both of which target JetBlue, American, Delta, and United along with Southwest.
The US market is white hot right now with pent up travel demand and few international options. Breeze will add a cool factor at the bottom of the pricing market (introductory prices are $39 each way) by targeting markets that the bigger airlines might have neglected but won’t want to give up on a connecting basis. This may trigger some of those carriers to add flights back to destinations using parked aircraft to push Breeze out of the market. Pittsburgh to Hartford, Connecticut might be one of those added flights.
I’m excited for what Breeze will bring into the market and I look forward to them slugging it out. Other carriers will battle Breeze creating more opportunities for travelers at a lower price. Breeze is also likely to push other airlines on product delivery though I fear even more will begin charging for carry-ons if the airline is successful. Time will tell, but I will be onboard for the ride.
What do you think? Is Breeze going to create turbulence for other carrriers? Do you plan on flying them?