JetBlue founder David Neeleman is preparing to launch his fifth—yes, fifth—airline startup this year. And its name has finally been announced: Breeze Airways. The airline says it expects to begin flights by the end of 2020.
Neeleman is best known for founding ever-popular JetBlue, but has also launched: Morris Air, which flew from 1984 to 1992 before being sold to Southwest; WestJet, currently the second-largest carrier in Canada and ninth-largest in North American in terms of passengers carried; and Brazilian airline Azul, also one of the largest carriers in its home country. Morris Air is credited with developing the industry’s first e-ticketing system. So it’s safe to say that Neeleman’s is not a bad track record.
So, what’s the deal with Breeze? Details are scant at this point. In a release, the airline says its “initial markets will be mid-sized U.S. city pairs that currently have no nonstop service.” The plan is to “connect these cities with low-fare, high-quality nonstop flights, [and] with new consumer technology innovations, improving the flying experience while saving travelers both time and money.”
The aim is to fill a true need by serving alternative and underserved airports. Neeleman adds: “Breeze will fly non-stop service between places currently without meaningful or affordable service,” said Breeze’s CEO and President David Neeleman. “20 years ago, we brought humanity back to the airline industry with JetBlue. Today, we’re excited to introduce plans for ‘the World’s Nicest Airline’.” Employees will apparently be measured by their “commitment to customer service and kindness.”
We can’t argue with any of that, but the proof will be in the service itself. USA Today reports that Breeze has leased 30 Embraer 195 airplanes from Azul, which are typically used on regional routes between small cities, and will apparently be delivered in May 2020. The airline has ordered 60 new (and larger) Airbus 220-300 planes for delivery starting in spring 2021, indicating an expansion into larger markets around that time.
Readers, are you excited for something new from the JetBlue braintrust?