David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways Won’t Launch Until 2021

The much-anticipated launch of Breeze Airways has yet again been pushed back, with the carrier now expected to begin operations in 2021. Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry, founder David Neeleman is now aiming for a March 2021 launch.

Breeze Airways is now planning for a March 2021 launch. Photo: Breeze

Despite initial plans to open for business in 2020, Breeze Airways subtly announced delays back in July before recent developments pushed the launch even further back. Additionally, the airline has offered a glimpse into its operations once flights are up and running.

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Why has it been delayed again?

While the airline has yet to release an official statement, the coronavirus crisis is likely to have dominated the decision to delay the launch again. Despite successful funding initiatives in August, with the company raising $83 million in Series A funding, a 2020 launch is now off the cards.

The aviation industry is in an unparalleled state of flux due to the global pandemic, affecting every airlines’ capacity to plan for the future. While Breeze Airways was hopeful for an early 2021 launch, the airline is now aiming for March 2021 at the earliest.

Key points of the new plan

Several interesting developments have come out of Breeze Airways over the past few days. In a filing to the US Department of Transportation, the airline announced its intention to establish two operating hubs in ‘Southeastern United States’ in March 2021, without specifically naming which airports.

David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways Won’t Launch Until 2021
Breeze Airways offered valuable insights into its new operating plans. Photo: Breeze

Initially, the airline will operate on seven routes before gradually expanding its network. Most flights will be in the Eastern region of the U.S, in what the carrier feels is an underrepresented market. In the filing, it said,

“Breeze sees even more opportunities to serve smaller cities currently reachable, if at all, only through connections and the corresponding increased travel times.”

Breeze Airways fleet

Breeze Airways is in the process of acquiring a permanent fleet of 60 brand-new Airbus A220-300. Currently, the airline is set to lease Embraer E190/195 aircraft from Azul Airlines, also established by David Neeleman. This short-term solution is intended to keep the carrier ticking over until its new aircraft are delivered.

Breeze A220
The airline has ordered 60 Airbus A220s. Photo: Breeze

However, the airline has also pushed back the delivery of its Airbus fleet by six months. The first aircraft is now set for an August 2021 delivery date. Subsequently, Breeze Airways will add one new aircraft per month, starting from January 2022, as it ramps up operations.

What will Breeze Airways offer?

The airline plans to approach air travel with a highly technological flair, drawing on the success of giants like Amazon and Uber. In an interview with Business Insider, founder David Neeleman laid out his vision for a seamless, tech-integrated service dominated by mobile apps. He said,

“We want something where nobody ever has to call, pick up the phone to call us, or have a hassle.”

In terms of its routes, Breeze Airways is looking to serve cities it feels have been neglected by the aviation industry. As Neeleman stated:

“I would be very surprised if a single [Breeze] route had nonstop service competition. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of city pairs that are crying out for nonstop flights.”

Are you excited for the launch of another Neeleman airline? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.