Breeze plans to launch international flights after its first A220 routes are up and running
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Breeze Airways, the startup budget carrier from JetBlue founder David Neeleman, has its sights set on international leisure travel.
But before Breeze begins flying internationally, it’s focused on getting its first batch of longer domestic routes up and running with its brand new Airbus A220 fleet.
The update came from Breeze chief operating officer Lukas Johnson at the Routes Americas conference in San Antonio last week.
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Breeze’s possible interest in international flying was first reported by the blog SimpleFlying in July, 2021, when the airline put a request for proposals (RFP) on the Routes Exchange Platform. In that initial RFP, the airline called for airports in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and Western Europe with facilities “suitible” for the Airbus A220-300, noting that routes could launch later in 2021.
Following Johnson’s participation in a panel discussion on start-up airlines, the Breeze COO confirmed to TPG that international routes are in the airline’s plans. But those are on the backburner for the moment as Breeze works to get its new-and-growing A220 fleet into service.
“We’re going through the certification process for the -220s first, and then we’ll tackle the next pieces, which is international and etc.”
Before the international routes, though, Breeze plans to add longer domestic routes to its growing network.
Since announcing its first routes and beginning service in May of 2021, Breeze has used a fleet of leased Embraer E190 and E195 jets to fly short routes — under two hours of flying time — between smaller and midsized markets that lacked direct air service connections.
With the A220, which Breeze began taking delivery of late last year, the airline plans to fly longer routes, Neeleman has previously said. The A220-300 has a range of 6,297 kilometers, according to Airbus, or about 3,913 miles. That range would enable any routing within the continental United States.
Breeze has not yet disclosed what its first dedicated A220 routes will be, although the airline plans to use the aircraft on some shorter existing routes in May in order to give crewmembers the chance to get familiar with the new aircraft type.
“We’re going to be focused on domestic,” Lukas said, “but we will be going international at some point. It’s just a matter of when it is.”
Lukas declined to share what international markets are under consideration, although it is likely the airline Could initially opt to enter leisure markets in the Caribbean and Central America, where there is strong demand from the U.S. and to which Breeze could offer nonstop connections from the smaller and mid-size cities that are core to its business model.
Canada, however, is likely off the table.
The planning around international routes would focus on American originating passengers, Lukas said, allowing Breeze to avoid the difficulties involved with selling tickets abroad and dealing in foreign currency. While that’s sustainable to the Caribbean from the U.S., the Canadian market is only economical if passengers originate from both sides — something that has prevented airlines like Southwest from seeking fortunes up north.
Featured photo courtesy of Airbus.
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