Breeze Airways announced a rapid expansion of its service this week, with the fledgling airline adding 10 new cities and 35 new routes in the coming months.
The additions will give Breeze 77 domestic routes, a significant number for an airline that has been in business only since last May.
The airline has tried to focus on cities with significant populations that are underserved by the major airlines.
“We generally always — 95 percent of the time — try and find routes where there’s people flying or that people would fly if the fares were better and the service was more convenient,” Breeze founder and CEO David Neeleman told USA Today.
The newest expansion includes routes to these cities:
- Las Vegas
- Fort Meyers
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- San Bernardino
The new cities being served include Las Vegas, which will bring visitors from seven of those underserved areas with new nonstop flights. None of the locations currently have direct flights to Las Vegas.
The airline will also add routes to three Florida cities (Jacksonville, Fort Myers, and Sarasota), three California locations (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Bernardino), as well as Nashville, Savannah, and Syracuse.
Breeze will also increase service to a number of current hubs, including Hartford, Conn.; Providence, R.I.; Richmond, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Norfolk, Va.; Akron, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Huntsville, Ala.; New Orleans; Oklahoma City; and Tulsa, Okla.
As part of the expansion, Breeze has ordered 80 new Airbus A220-300 aircraft, a plane Neeleman is thrilled about.
“The A220-300 is a game-changer for us as we now add long haul flights and transcontinental service,” Neeleman said in a statement. “The Airbus aircraft embodies the Breeze ideal of merging kindness with technology, pairing unrivaled passenger comfort with eco-friendly efficiency.”
He said the aircraft gives passengers the widest cabin, highest ceiling, largest windows and biggest overhead stowage in its class, all while burning 25 percent less fuel.
The planes will hold 126 passengers, including 36 first-class seats.
“You don’t climb on too many planes that have 36 first-class seats,” he said, while noting that number may be adjusted if the demand isn’t there.
“If I can get enough people to pay me 50 percent more for the fare, I’ll keep it,” he said. “If I can’t, then I’m going to put more coach seats in… Our customers will decide that.’’
Flights Begin In Spring
Breeze had actually planned to introduce even more new routes, but with fuel costs at a 13-year high, it decided to hold back.
“It’s not been the easiest,” chief commercial officer Lukas Johnson told CNBC.
Johnson said tweaks to the new schedule were being made up to the day before. He said the airline would rather proceed cautiously than avoid changing the schedule later on.
The new flights will begin rolling out Memorial Day weekend and continue to debut into early August. Breeze will offer initial fares as low as $99 for cross-country flights, and $49 for others staying on the same coast.
Johnson said officials expect the low introductory fares to sell quickly, but the airline will proceed carefully at boosting them down the line.
“You don’t want to raise [fares] too much because you’re still recovering from the pandemic,” Johnson said.