Breeze Airways, the new start-up airline of aviation founder and tycoon David Neeleman, has had its first aircraft arrive in the US. Another of Neeleman’s airlines, Azul Brazilian Airways, confirmed that one of its Embraer E195-E1 had been flown to the states for a refit and a paint job. Azul will lease almost 30 Embraer jets to Breeze. Breeze is expected to begin flying early next year.
Breeze Airways has been much talked of in the aviation industry for the last year or so. Another airline founded by the brains behind JetBlue, Azul, WestJet, and, more recently, TAP Air Portugal. It was always bound to garner some interest.
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Most people wonder how the airline will launch in 2021 when it doesn’t yet have any aircraft. Its order of 60 Airbus A220s is due to start delivery in early 2021. Now, the questions have been answered. Azul Brazilian Airways, another of Neeleman’s airlines, has confirmed that one of its Embraer jets has already made its way to the US ahead of becoming Breeze’s first plane.
According to Aeropflap.com, the Embraer E195-E1, registration PR-AUB had been stored in Brazil since the start of the pandemic but flew to Macon, Georgia, last week. The plane then flew on to Peru, Indiana, where it will receive a paint job with the new Breeze livery.
Once decked out in its new colors, Breeze will still need to plan and receive permission for its routes. But the airline is one step closer to launching.
This Embraer is the first of four planes from Azul to head to Breeze. A lease has also been signed for 28 Embraer jets until Breeze receives delivery of its Airbus A220s. It seems that Breeze’s starting fleet will not be too different from Neeleman’s JetBlue and Azul airlines. Both airlines started with Embraer fleets.
The Embraer E1s coming from Azul were the perfect short-term solution while waiting to take delivery of its new A220s. However, the delays to the launch date now mean its E1s will be ready at a similar time to its first A220. The Embraer’s are perfect for carrying out the airline’s plans of offering non-stop connecting flights between unserved cities in the US because it can serve smaller airports.
However, the Airbus A220 has a much longer range meaning the airline could switch to operating longer routes if necessary. Neeleman has certainly been dropping hints that this could be Breeze’s future, even stating it may operate flights to Brazil. So far, specific route details are still unknown. With the first aircraft receiving a new coat of paint, it won’t be long until we get a clearer idea of how Neeleman’s new airline will look.
With the Embraer and Airbus jets, Breeze’s fleet is set to grow quickly. The question now is when will the airline finally launch? The Embraer jets are going from one Neeleman startup to another. But will Breeze be as successful? We’ll have to wait and see.