Travellers in the US are set to enjoy more choice in the air, with the formal launch of Breeze Airways announced last week.
Previously known by the code name “Moxy”, the new airline is the brainchild of experienced airline executive David Neeleman, who is renowned for having established four successful airlines during his career.
With the experience of establishing the likes of Morris Air, WestJet, Jet Blue and Azul, each of Neeleman’s new entrants are notable for introducing a variety of innovations to the market.
Today considered commonplace; leading customer experience improvements include e-ticketed bookings, inflight TV streaming and the opening up of routes to city pairs previously not served by existing carriers.
Expected to operate as a low-cost airline, Breeze Airways has applied to the Federal Aviation Administration and US Department of Transport for its Airline Operators Certificate (AOC), with the intention to start services by the end of 2020.
Focusing on linking mid-sized city pairs across the United States, Breeze Airways aims to introduce non-stop services for passengers who traditionally experience lengthy travel times; due to existing flights that route via major hubs.
The airline says it will introduce flights that enjoy: “new consumer technology innovations” aimed at improving the customer experience for budget-conscious travellers.
Of the new airline, Breeze Airways’ CEO and President David Neeleman said: “Breeze will fly non-stop service between places currently without meaningful or affordable service… 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’.”
Breeze Airways intends to start operations as early as this year, with up to 30 Embraer E195s, which the airline says can: “connect smaller markets cost-effectively.”
WATCH: Neelman speak about his new carrier, Breeze, before it was named, alongside the notable success of Brazil’s Azul.
Onboard amenities are expected to include a favourable seat pitch and WiFi as well as inflight entertainment streaming to individual devices. Airbus equipment will gradually supplement the Embraer fleet from 2021, with Airbus confirming a firm order for 60 A220-300 aircraft on 9 January.
Of the order, Neeleman said: “With a low cost of operation and spacious cabin, the A220 will allow us to provide passengers with lower fares and a high quality, comfortable flying experience. The A220’s ability to operate profitably in thin, underserved markets across a broad spectrum of ranges is unique.”
Promising to deliver the ‘Worlds Nicest Airline, the start-up has commenced a recruitment process; calling for people who “embrace technology” and are “passionate about customer service” to apply.
Neeleman’s past airlines are known for challenging the status quo.
When Morris Air launched scheduled flights in 1992, the Salt Lake City airline pioneered e-ticketing; something travellers take for granted today. Southwest Airlines acquired Morris Air in late 1993, reportedly for over $100 million.
Neeleman was a key player in WestJet’s 1996 founding. The airline experienced a bumpy start – with its fleet grounded in September of that year amid a maintenance dispute with Transport Canada.
However, WestJet has since grown to become a major carrier across Canada and internationally, operating 700 daily flights utilising 150 aircraft.
US Carrier Jet Blue celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. It’s entrance into the market led to a major shakeup that resulted in several legacy carriers launching their own low-cost products in response.
Today Jet Blue serves 40 million annual passengers and undertakes 1,000 daily flights. Neeleman left JetBlue in 2008.
Neeleman’s latest success story, Azul Airlines, commenced services from São Paulo, Brazil, in 2008. Launching flights with Embraer E195s, the airline now utilises a diverse fleet of over 140 airliners.
Equipment includes short-haul ATR-72s and Embraer narrow body jets, through to wide-body Airbus A330-200s and A330-900NEOs; utilised on services with high demand and fights to long haul destinations.
Neeleman retired as CEO of Azul in 2017 but remains at the airline as Chairman. In 2015 he led the Atlantic Gateway acquisition of a stake in TAP Air Portugal.