Breeze Airways is ready for take-off

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.

In April, the Department of Transport granted the airline the authority to commercialize flights within the United States. This week, the FAA gave the airline the certificate to operate these flights with its fleet and staff. The grand announcement of destinations should be made within days and the start of operations within weeks.
There is little information about the possible destinations.

Inc Magazine published an interview of David Neeleman (which refers to an Apple News that’s not accessible in all countries) from which we can extract the below information.

Breeze is expected to start with 49 nonstop routes between 15 cities. The first route will probably be from Tampa to Charleston. Other lanch cities include Nashville, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh.

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