David Neelman’s newest venture, Breeze Airways, is expected to start its operations very soon as the FAA granted the startup an air carrier certificate.
This certification is almost the end of a long journey that led the Salt Lake City based airline startup from Nellman’s idea to an airline ready to take off.
Lanched in a pandemic
Initially, Breeze expected to start its operation last year. The company was prepared to launch in an environment with a lot of competition for customers and a lack of skilled personnel. A lot of innovations were announced in cost-cutting but also in the staff hiring process. Flight attendants, as an example, will be college interns supplied through a partnership with Utah Valley University. Breeze gained some criticism for these non-permanent flight attendants.
However, the pandemic impacted the sector heavily. In a sense, it’s good for a startup airline. The labor shortage is a term of the past, and there is plenty of aircrafts available at cheap lease rates.
Less know, the financial side of the plan was also impacted. Initially, Neeleman expected to fund his new venture partially with the profit of the sale of its share in the Portuguese carrier TAP. The latter was turned over in the last years, and David would have been able to sell if no pandemic damaged the airline industry. TAP’s value plummeted and was finally nationalized.
Neeleman was quite active on Twitter about the pandemic effect and was one of those that affirmed that health measures were excessive. The TAP saga was probably the reason.
First flight in sight
The company has already one Embraer 190 on the property since February. Having one aircraft was one of the prerequisites of the FAA to grant a certificate.
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