The debut of Breeze Airways (IATA code still not available; ICAO code MXY) represents the biggest news in 2021 for commercial aviation because of three factors: its founder, David Neeleman, is a legend in the industry for the many successful airlines he launched in the last 37 years; the dimension of its intended fleet, planned to reach 102 aircraft; its innovative business model (for the US market), aimed at connecting directly medium-sized cities, without passing through a hub.
Initially, the carrier was called Moxy (hence the ICAO code MXY) and set to start operations in 2020: Neeleman officially unveiled it in February 2020, just a few weeks before the onset of the Covid pandemic, which caused a re-scheduling of all the original plan. More than a year later, on March 10, 2021 Breeze was issued a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for Interstate Air Transportation, which officially authorizes it to schedule the start of operations soon. More recently, the airline started test flights with FAA personnel onboard, which means launch is a matter of weeks, if not days.
These key steps represent the occasion to make the point about what we know, so far, about the Salt Lake City-based airline.
FOUNDER AND CEO: Born in Sao Paulo in 1959, David Gary Neeleman lived in Brazil until he was five and he was raised in Utah, US to a family of Dutch and American descent. He is a true legend in commercial aviation, as the founder of as many as five airlines: Morris Air (KN) in 1984, Westjet (WS) in 1994, JetBlue (B6) in 2000, Azul (AD) in 2008 and Breeze in 2019. Along with Humberto Pedrosa and Aigle Azur he owns 45% of TAP Air Portugal (TP).
HEADQUARTERS: Breeze’s headquarters are situated in Cotton Woods Heights, a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah.
CURRENT FLEET: At the beginning of February, Breeze was authorized by the US Department of Transportation (DoT) to fly up to 22 aircraft by the end of 2021. Currently (as of April 11, 2021), planespotters.net enlists four aircraft in the airline’s fleet, plus four on imminent delivery.
Those already handed over to the carrier are:
2 Embraer ERJ-195: N190BZ (manufacturer serial number 19000669), delivered new to Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras (AD) as PR-AVB in March 2014 (7.1 years old) and leased by Breeze from Azul in December 2020 and N192BZ (manufacturer serial number 19000662), delivered new to Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras as PR-AUC in April 2014 (7.0 years old) and leased to Breeze in March 2021. N190BZ is currently stored at Islip Long Island MacArthur airport (ISP), whileN192BZ has been ferried to Lake Charles Chennault International (CWF) in Louisiana on delivery.
2 Embraer ERJ-190: N90NA, a ERJ-190 (manufacturer serial number 19000070) delivered new to Air Canada (AC) as C-FHNL in March 2007 (14.1 years old) and leased from Nordic Aviation Capital in January 2021, and N975NA (manufacturer serial number 1900075) delivered new to Air Canada (AC) as C-FHNL in April 2007 (14.0 years old) and leased from Nordic Aviation Capital in March 2021. N90NA is stored at Islip Long island MacArthur airport (ISP)., while N975NA has been ferried to Lake Charles Chennault International (CWF) in Louisiana on delivery.
Out of the four more aircraft expected to be delivered imminently, one is a ERJ-195 and five ERJ-190s, one of which already has a new registration: N102BZ (manufacturer serial number 19000055) is a 14.4 years-old plane, formerly with Air Canada as C-FHKP which will be leased from Nordic Aviation Capital.
FUTURE FLEET: Within the end of the year Breeze will receive 14 more ERJ-190s and 28 more ERJ-195s from Nordic Aviation Capital, Azul and a third, undisclosed, lessor. The airline has a firm order for 60 Airbus A220-300s, the first of which will arrive in August this year, followed by a second one in September and a third one in November; from January 2022, the carrier will take one new aircraft per month.
NETWORK: Breeze will connect mid-sized cities across the US with non-stop service. As many as 500 city pairs have been taken into consideration. According to simpleflying.com, in its application for an Air Operator’s Certificate (dated February 7, 2020), the airline highlighted plans to fly mostly east of the Mississippi River. Paxex.aero reports that Charleston (CHS), South Carolina is the likely home base from which the airline will launch its operations in the next few weeks. Other potential locations tipped include Panama City (ECP) and Tampa (TPA), Florida.
ONBOARD SERVICE: Breeze’s aircraft won’t have seatback IFE screens; rather, inflight entertainment contents will be streamlined through the airline app; a total of four fares will be available for purchase, corresponding to four classes of service, starting from an ultra-low-fare product up to a First Class cabin.
FINANCING: In August 2020, Breeze raised USD 83mln in Series A financing, led by Peterson Partners with Sandlot Partners. The former had also invested with Neeleman when he founded Jetblue Airways in 2000 and Azul in 2008. The Series A investment brought Breeze’s total funding since launch to more than USD100 million
KICK-OFF: Ticket sale is expected to start within days, but no date has been fixed regarding the beginning of flight operations. (Photo header Breeze Airways)
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