Breeze’s New Route Network Makes Sense: Here’s Why

The day has arrived: Breeze has put its first routes on sale. First up is Charleston to Tampa, which takes off on May 27th – in just six days. Breeze has revealed 39 routes so far, of which only eight will have head-to-head competition. This clearly demonstrates how Breeze seeks out unserved opportunities, but do the routes make sense?

Breeze’s New Route Network Makes Sense: Here’s Why
Breeze’s first flight, from Charleston to Tampa, will take off on May 27th. Photo: Breeze Airways.

On May 27th, MX4 – in a nod to when the airline was named Moxy – will depart Charleston at 19:50 and arrive in Tampa at 21:10. Simple Flying reported that this was likely to be its launch route.

Breeze’s 39 routes saw 1.1 million people fly via a hub in 2019, booking data obtained via OAG Traffic Analyzer shows, for an average of about 29,000 indirect passengers. The 39 routes can be summarized as follows:

  • Involving 16 airports
  • Eight routes (21%) will have head-to-head competition (based on this May to December)
  • An average length of 604 miles
  • 144 weekly departures in all
  • 33 of the 39 routes are four-weekly
  • Two routes are once-weekly
  • Two routes are twice-weekly
  • Two routes are three-weekly
  • Lots of connecting the dots; multiple routes from most airports, so gaining more economies, including marketing
  • Almost all routes will operate on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays, or Mondays; very little flying on the rest of the days
FromToStart dateWeekly departures (first week)Distance (Miles)Indirect round-trip passengers
CharlestonTampaMay 27th437032,000
CharlestonHartfordJune 27th474333,000
CharlestonLouisvilleJune 27th448517,000
CharlestonNorfolkJune 10th435125,000
CharlestonAkron CantonJuly 8th45587,000
CharlestonColumbusJuly 8th451433,000
CharlestonNew OrleansJuly 8th463635,000
CharlestonPittsburghJuly 8th452432,000
CharlestonRichmondJuly 8th435315,000
CharlestonHuntsvilleJuly 15th44068,000
CharlestonProvidenceJuly 22nd477126,000
Fayetteville (Arkansas)San AntonioJuly 15th452411,000
HartfordColumbusJuly 22nd455048,000
HartfordPittsburghJuly 22nd440640,000
New OrleansAkron CantonJuly 15th290110,000
New OrleansFayetteville (Arkansas)July 15th449313,000
New OrleansHuntsvilleJuly 15th43799,000
New OrleansLouisvilleJuly 15th462035,000
New OrleansOklahoma CityJuly 15th456725,000
New OrleansRichmondJuly 15th490646,000
New OrleansTulsaJuly 15th453824,000
New OrleansColumbusJuly 16th280652,000
NorfolkNew OrleansJuly 15th494048,000
NorfolkColumbusJuly 22nd442122,000
NorfolkHartfordJuly 22nd439622,000
NorfolkPittsburghJuly 22nd433025,000
NorfolkProvidenceJuly 29th442037,000
Oklahoma CitySan AntonioJuly 15th440734,000
PittsburghProvidenceJuly 29th446724,000
TampaLouisvilleMay 28th472738,000
TampaTulsaJune 4th396534,000
TampaNorfolkJune 10th471753,000
TampaFayetteville (Arkansas)June 17th489517,000
TampaAkron CantonJune 26th189423,000
TampaOklahoma CityJuly 1st3102338,000
TampaColumbusJuly 3rd182954,000
TampaHuntsvilleJuly 22nd452316,000
TampaRichmondJuly 22nd472357,000
TulsaSan AntonioJuly 15th448324,000

Little direct competition

Breeze will have no head-to-head competition on 31 of its 39 routes, illustrating how it will target unserved markets, whether they have been served by other airlines in the past or not. Of the eight routes with direct competition, they’re split among various carriers: Allegiant; JetBlue; Spirit; Silver; Southwest; United. Each will have very little exposure.

Breeze’s New Route Network Makes Sense: Here’s Why
This is Breeze’s first route. Image: Breeze Airways.

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Decent-sized markets

Almost all markets are obviously very leisure-orientated, and the average market size of ~29,000 indirect passengers is decently sized. Eight had more than 40,000 passengers, led by Tampa-Richmond with 57,000. In Europe, Wizz Air and Ryanair often launch new routes with fewer than 5,000 existing passengers and then strongly stimulate demand.

Some readers may say that the average of 29,000 equates to only passengers daily each way (PDEW) of 40. But Breeze will stimulate leisure demand from non-stop service, what seems to be a good product, and reasonably low fares. Moreover, its average frequency is just four-weekly using jets with only 108-118 seats.

Breeze’s New Route Network Makes Sense: Here’s Why
With weather like this, people will be flocking to the sun. Photo: Breeze Airways.

The average route length of 604 miles nicely means that the average will be within the one-to-two-hour sweet spot. While Breeze won’t be a low-cost carrier as we know them, this is still important. Normally, shorter flights, coupled with quick turns, mean more sectors per day, increasing the number of passengers carried and revenue opportunities.

This goes hand-in-hand with the vast majority of Breeze’s flying being on important days for demand and fares, meaning it needs to make money on those days. Indeed, Breeze mentioned long ago that it’d minimize flying on less popular days, something that Allegiant is known for doing. Breeze’s second-hand Embraer 190/195s, with low ownership costs, will be crucial in this. They’ll also combine low trip costs without many seats to fill.

Breeze’s New Route Network Makes Sense: Here’s Why
Breeze’s first 39 routes have an average distance of 604 miles. Image: Breeze Airways.

Bottom line

Breeze’s initial route map and hub-busting strategy in demanded markets make sense. And with so many mid-sized US cities with decent numbers of existing leisure passengers – who are forced to fly through a hub, meaning more time and money and less convenience – it is highly likely that hundreds of routes will begin in time.

It’ll also be fairly easy to predict likely routes. New Orleans, for example, has dozens of unserved markets within 1,000 miles with 10,000+ passengers.

What are your thoughts on Breeze’s routes and airports? Let us know in the comments.