Finally, we’re able to take a first look at serial airline founder David Neeleman’s new startup known as Breeze. Codenamed Moxy throughout its development, the name of the new airline was announced some time ago, but now we know what the aircraft will look like, and a few more details about the business plan too.
What’s in a name?
According to reports, the codename Moxy was originally intended to be the actual name for the airline. However, Marriott complained about this, as it has a hotel brand with the same name.
“It’s kind of the name that nobody hated … I think of all the names we have ever used from WestJet to Morris Air. It didn’t really matter what the name was. It is what we make out of it. Breeze is a good name and I think it gives people good connotations and good feelings. No one is ever against a nice cool breeze.”
Breeze will run on a low-cost model, connecting unserved and underserved city pairs. While there may be fees to pay on top of the fare, Neeleman is targeting the lowest possible fare to steal passengers away from the competition.
What aircraft will it operate?
Breeze is so far confirmed to be taking two types of aircraft. First, is the A220 – an order that was placed some time ago. Neeleman committed to 50 of these aircraft back when the program lacked Airbus involvement and was seen as unsuccessful. It’s likely that his early order of the type snagged him a substantial discount on the price of the jets.
Secondly, Breeze will fly a number of outgoing E195s it is taking from fellow Neeleman airline Azul. As Azul takes delivery of the next generation E2 jets, the E195s will be subleased to Breeze on a very cheap deal. Skift reports that the deal is so good, Breeze won’t even need to fly the aircraft every day in order to make them work financially. It can simply park them up when demand is low.
While the E195s are being configured in all economy, the A220s may well have a premium class on board. Neeleman told Skift he is considering a number of different configurations, including one with as many as 36 recliner premium seats and even one with lie flat business class seating.
Neeleman has said that the planes will have WiFi, although it might not be free, and that there will be streamable live TV, but no seatback screens on the E195s.
Where will it fly?
In a rather out of character move by Neeleman, he is remaining relatively tight lipped over exactly where this new airline will fly. We know it’s going to be headquartered in Salt Lake City, but as to specific routes, Neeleman is keen to keep us in the dark. He told Skift,
“I don’t want to give competitors a head start.”
He has revealed that Breeze has a list of some 500 potential routes under consideration. What we do know is that Breeze is intended to be a point to point airline, connecting smaller cities with other secondary destinations, cutting time (and probably costs) against competitors’ one-stop itineraries.
The Embraer E195s will be useful for lower capacity routes. Neeleman gave Skift one example: Idaho Falls to Southern California. That’s not to say that this will be a Breeze route for sure, but that this is the kind of level of service we can expect from the airline.
When the airline’s A220s begin delivering, Breeze will likely look to larger cities than Idaho Falls. The A220s are expected to come with either 118 or 145 seats, depending on configuration, and will likely target middle-sized cities with more demand.
When will it fly?
Make no mistake, this is not an airline which is imminent for takeoff. Neeleman has just filed for its AOC to the FAA and US DoT, so there’s still some waiting to be done. While Neeleman is hopeful of launching by the end of the year, he told The Points Guy that it was too early to say when the inaugural flight will be. He said,
“We’re certainly not putting out a definitive date because we have a FAA certification process and it wouldn’t be fair to the FAA to say. I have total confidence we’ll get it done. I just can’t give you the exact date.”
When it launches, Breeze will be Neeleman’s fifth airline start up.