Start-up Breeze Airways drops bid for Compass Airlines’ operating certificate, still plans 2021 launch

Aug 19, 2020

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David Neeleman’s latest venture Breeze Airways remains on track to launch commercial passenger flights in 2021 even after deciding to drop a plan to acquire defunct Compass Airlines operating certificate.

Salt Lake City-based Breeze will launch in 2021 under its own operating certificate, spokesperson Gareth Edmondson-Jones told TPG. A certificate is a necessary prerequisite to flying scheduled passenger flights in the U.S.

While he did not provide a specific timeline, the airline maintains its plan to initially lease 15 used Embraer E190s before it begins taking delivery of 60 new Airbus A220-300s in August 2021.

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The confirmation of that timeline follows the decision to drop plans to acquire the certificate of Compass, which Breeze notified the Department of Transportation of on Tuesday. The airline applied to transfer the certificate in July, three months after Compass ceased flying.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) labor union and Sun Country Airlines objected to Breeze’s plan to acquire the certificate. ALPA argued that if the transfer was approved, its existing labor contract with Compass needed to be honored. Sun Country argued that Breeze did not meet the regulator’s funding level requirements.

Breeze did not respond to the separate objections before withdrawing its application for the certificate.

Related: Neeleman’s new airline Breeze targets May launch, with the JetBlue founder planning coast-to-coast flights

Breeze is the latest airline founded by industry mogul Neeleman. His previous carriers include JetBlue Airways and Morris Air in the U.S., Azul in Brazil, and WestJet in Canada.

The airline has outlined plans to initially offer point-to-point flights aimed at leisure travelers between 15 cities on the East Coast and in the Midwest, South and Texas. The model is similar to that of Allegiant Air, where Breeze commercial chief Lukas Johnson spent eight years before joining the start-up carrier.

Later plans include flights across the U.S. between the East Coast and California on A220s.

Breeze will release additional details of its launch in September, Edmondson-Jones said.

Related: JetBlue founder’s new U.S. airline now has a name: Breeze Airways

Featured image courtesy of Breeze Airways.

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