New US Airline Startup With 60 Airbus A220’s On Order Selects Base

Salt Lake City will be the corporate headquarters for Breeze Aviation – the name of David Neeleman’s latest airline company. Neeleman is best known for being the founder of JetBlue as well as Brazilian budget airline Azul. We know that Neeleman is working on a new airline with the code name “Moxy” – is this it?
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Moxy confirmed an order for 60 Airbus A220s in January . Photo: Airbus
According to the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), Salt Lake will be the corporate headquarters for Breeze Aviation –  with plans to create 369 jobs in the next five years.
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“Breeze Aviation’s headquarters operation will be a welcome addition to Utah’s growing aerospace industry. We’re excited to partner with an experienced team with such an outstanding track record.” -Val Hale, GOED executive director.

Is Breeze the same as Moxy?

We know from the Airbus press release – and many other sources – that Neeleman has a new start-up code-named Moxy. With the Utah Governor’s Office confirming Breeze Aviation is founded by Neeleman – it’s a sure bet these two companies are the same.

A source speaking with Conde Nast Traveler reported that Breeze is the name of the holding company for the new airline. However, this confirms for us that Moxy and Breeze are one and the same, and not yet another Neeleman airline start-up! The CNN Traveler source also noted that it’s not clear if the name Breeze will stick, and the GOED also says Breeze plans to “unveil an as-yet-unnamed low-cost carrier in the new year”.

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Moxy made a big splash earlier this year when it confirmed an order for 60 Airbus A220-300s. The order was originally announced at the 2018 Farnborough International Air Show. This is what Airbus had to say when Moxy confirmed its order:

“Moxy has its sights set on the future, so I can’t think of a better aircraft to put into their fleet than the A220. We believe the A220 really is the future of this segment of the market, and the flying public will know from the minute they set foot onboard that they’re experiencing the best our industry has to offer.” -Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer

Will Salt Lake be a hub for Breeze?

The answer is still not 100% confirmed. Having a headquarters in a city does not guarantee that its main hub will be there as well. A Skift source says Salt Lake is not expected to be a focus city – probably because it is an airport dominated by Delta Air Lines.

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The range of an Airbus A220-300 from Salt Lake. Photo: GCMaps

The selection of Salt Lake as the new headquarters makes sense for other reasons though. Neeleman was raised in Utah and his family has roots there. Furthermore, Skift also reports that Neeleman’s successors at JetBlue have complained about the high cost of a New York HQ. Salt Lake would not have the same issue:

“It doesn’t make sense to be trying to hire in the highest cost of living places. It doesn’t make a ton of sense for a competitive business.” -Lukas Johnson, Chief commericial for Breeze Aviation

However, it has been pointed out that there are fewer executives with airline operations experience in Salt Lake. Therefore, it is expected that Breeze Aviation will keep an East Coast base for its operational team.

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Focusing on secondary airports

The GOED press release notes that the new airline “will provide flyers with convenient non-stop service from secondary airports”. Sources mention New Haven, Connecticut as well as Burbank or Oakland, California as examples. New Haven is positioned almost halfway between New York and Boston.

“They are specifically looking at secondary airports in large metro areas with access to highly qualified labor pools and sufficient land around the airport for future terminal expansion and a potential development of maintenance and crew training facilities,” officials in New Haven said about the airline in their public report obtained by Yahoo.

“We’re excited to announce our investment to make Utah our headquarters. Utah’s exceptional workforce and business environment will ensure that we have all the support needed to provide exceptional customer service for our new startup.” -David Neeleman, CEO of Breeze Aviation

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Neeleman was the founder of JetBlue – a small boutique airline based on the east coast. Photo: JetBlue

 

Conclusion

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the new airline: its official name, destinations, hubs, and more. However, we now know where the headquarters will be located, guaranteeing that Salt Lake will be one of the destinations on the list.

Southwest, Frontier, and the larger U.S. airlines will definitely be offering some stiff competition. Do you think “Breeze Aviation” will have what it takes to go up against the existing airlines? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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The E2 is used by Azul in Brazil. Photo: Embraer
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