“We are working to put an extra tank on that thing…”. Neeleman reveals a new scenario for Breeze

In the spotlight

According to an airline’s official, Breeze will launch “in a week or so”, with flight intended “to start in the second half of May”. A timing David Neeleman, Breeze’s founder and CEO, describes as “good, spooling up in July and August” in an interview released to Airline Business magazine. “There’s just a huge amount of pent-up demand. I am seeing it in my own family. Each of my kids have something like three trips planned. They are all ready to go”.

Network and schedule of the upcoming airline are still a well-kept secret (although Breeze is going to connect non-stop secondary city which do not enjoy many direct services from major US carriers), while plans for the fleet have been communicated. Speaking with Airline Business, Neeleman adds that “one of the silver linings of Covid is that the planes came cheap. We are paying a third of what we were paying for the same airplane at Azul”. And the same airplanes are indeed, considering that many of the ERJs Breeze will use come from the Brazilian carrier founded by Neeleman himself in 2007, through a lease agreement.

Breeze will start operations with a fleet of ERJ-190 and ERJ-195 (Photo Breeze)

While the Embraers will do most of the job during the airline’s ramp-up, the Airbus A220-300s (of which 60 have been ordered so far) will be the stars of the fleet, with the first one to be delivered in October. “The airplane is a real game-changer” the CEO confesses to Airline Business. “When you can fly seven hours of range, and we are working really closely with these guys (i.e Airbus) to put an auxiliary tank on that thing… that means you can go 4,000 miles. That means that we can go from the northeast US into Europe, and Florida into South America. Or Hawaii from anywhere west of Kansas. We can do things no other planes can do” he says, adding that “we can’t fly an ERJ-195 for three and a half hours and make money doing that. But we can fly an A220 for six or seven hours and make money doing that”.

Words which open up Breeze’s future perspectives far beyond connecting secondary cities within the US, as the final part of the interview confirms: “When you start from scratch like this, you can do things that no-one has been able to do. (…) What’s important is you don’t make rules for yourself. Just look at the opportunities”.

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