Temporary Delay: JetBlue Founder Still Plans to Launch Breeze Airways (By March 2021)

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It’s been nearly 18 months since I first wrote about the airline known as “Moxy.”

If the name rings a bell…yes, you’re right! The name is also a Marriott brand hotel, but it was also serving as a place holder name for a unique airline startup.

Then 6 months ago, it was announced that “Moxy” would be known as Breeze Airways.

WHO IS BREEZE AIRWAYS?

Breeze Airways is an US airline start-up founded by serial entrepreneur David Neeleman with an initial capital of $100 million.

If you are not familiar with Mr. Neeleman, I trust you are familiar with his products, so here’s a quick summary…

  • 1984-1993, Neeleman Co-founded Morris Air & served as President
  • 1993 Morris Air is acquired by Southwest Airlines for $130 million
  • 1996 Neeleman founded WestJet (Canada’s second largest airline)
  • 1998 Neeleman founded JetBlue and served as CEO
  • 2008 Neeleman launched Azul Airlines (currently Brazil’s 3rd largest airline)
  • 2015 Neeleman acquired 61% of TAP Air Portugal
  • 2018 Neeleman announced plans for new US airline called Moxy (now called Breeze)

In other words, he started 4 successful airlines in 35 years and has a majority stake in one of the best European carriers. Personally, I think that’s a pretty solid resumé.

David Neeleman’s fifth startup, Breeze Airways, is launching with the business model of domestic point-to-point flights between underserved US markets utilizing a fleet of 60 Airbus A220-300s.

In short, the carrier plans to depart from secondary airports instead of hubs. For example:

  • Burbank, Ontario, Orange County (instead of LAX)
  • Oakland and San Jose (instead of SFO)
  • Stewart (instead of JFK, LGA, or EWR)
  • Baltimore (instead of IAD or DCA)
  • Burke Lakefront Airport (instead of CLE) <–although it can be argued if CLE is a secondary airport. I’m from Cleveland and that airport is EMPTY!! 😢

TWO MODELS

From a business model perspective, Breeze Airways is intriguing because Neeleman is pursuing two models at once.

Breeze plans to exclusively fly Airbus A220s long-term. However, the carrier planned to launch in early 2020, despite the delivery of the first A220 being planned for April 2021.

In the meantime, Breeze Airways planned to lease up to 30 Embraer E190/195s from Azul – which is another Neeleman airline – and this would allow the airline to launch before receiving the A220s.

Presumably, the E190/195s would be phased out once the A220s were delivered.

The only hiccup has been a global pandemic.

SO WHERE IS BREEZE NOW?

Given the challenging situation airlines around the world are experiencing, it’s understandable that the timeline is delayed. But according to Ben at OMAAT, Breeze still plans to move forward with launching flights with the details:

  • Breeze plans to launch scheduled passenger flights in March 2021
  • Breeze is currently in Phase 3 of the certification process with the FAA
  • Breeze started their pilot training last week
  • Breeze will launch with Embraer E190/195 in March 2021
  • Breeze will take delivery of its first Airbus A220-300 in August 2021

FINAL STAMP

Although, March is right around the corner, there are still a lot of details Breeze needs to work out.

Regardless of these fine details, I’m always excited when I see new airlines on the horizon. As with any business, I trust there will be some bumps along the road but I wouldn’t bet against Neeleman.

In fact, I’ll go a bit further and pitch my theory. Neeleman is putting together a “super airline.” Think about it…

  • He already owns Azul in Brazil and can connect to any country Central or South America
  • He already owns a major stake in TAP Portugal that connects around the world (including the USA)
  • Now he owns Breeze in the USA

Breeze plans to use Airbus A220s which are fuel-efficient and have a range that can easily be utilized on long-haul flights between the US and Europe and the US and South America.

In other words, all three airlines would create a network that could rival larger alliances and potentially be able to do it for less.

Mark my words…this development has the potential to change the entire airline industry.

What do you make of this new airline?

Featured image courtesy of Breeze Airways.

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