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David Neeleman's new airline, Breeze, just cleared a major hurdle

March 10, 2021
3 min read
David Neeleman's new airline, Breeze, just cleared a major hurdle
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The United States' newest airline is closer than ever to taking off.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved an application for Breeze, a new airline led by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, to begin flying.

The approval, which grants Breeze Aviation Group a formal "Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for Interstate Air Transportation," gives Breeze one year to begin flying passengers with up to 22 aircraft, although the airline can apply for permission to increase its fleet size.

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New airlines must receive economic authority to begin operations from the DOT, as well as separate safety authority from the Federal Aviation Administration, before it can begin selling flights.

While the timing — with the COVID-19 pandemic still well underway — may seem suboptimal to launch a new airline, most industry observers expect a boom in U.S. domestic travel in the second half of 2020 as the new vaccines continue to roll out, and pent up travel demand is unleashed.

More: JetBlue founder’s new airline Breeze delays launch to 2021

Neeleman — who also founded Brazilian airline Azul and was previously a co-owner of TAP Portugal — has previously said that Breeze would focus on point-to-point flights in underserved markets, eschewing the hub-and-spoke model of most major airlines. Breeze also plans to differentiate itself by functioning as a low-cost carrier.

"We're looking at 500 city pairs," Neeleman said in 2020, when the airline's name was announced. "We only need about 50 people on board to cover the operating cost of the airplane. We don't really have to be in big markets."

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Breeze plans to reduce costs and expedite its launch by initially leasing 118-seat Embraer E195 jets from Azul. The airline is also in agreement to purchase 60 new Airbus A220-300 jets, which can hold up to 160 passengers. Deliveries were expected to begin in April — it was not immediately clear whether this timeline has been impacted by the pandemic.

The airline will be headquartered in Connecticut, but will locate its operations center in Salt Lake City, according to The Associated Press. Although routes have not been announced, the airline is expected to introduce service along the East Coast.

A representative for the airline told TPG that, pending final certification from the FAA, the airline expects to share its finalized launch plans in the coming weeks.

Featured image by A rendering of an Embraer E195 in the planned livery for start-up carrier Breeze Airways. (Image courtesy of Breeze Airways.)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases