Breeze Airways Launches New Orleans Service
NEW ORLEANS – Breeze Airways, the new U.S. carrier from JetBlue founder David Neeleman, has launched from New Orleans to 10 destinations. The low-cost startup, headquartered in Utah, will focus on flights between smaller U.S. cities that don’t have direct service from larger carriers. In total, it will offer 39 nonstop routes between 16 cities. Louis Armstrong International Airport will be an operations base, along with airports in Tampa, Fla.; Charleston, S.C.; and Norfolk, Va.
The 10 cities Breeze will serve from New Orleans are Charleston (starting July 8); Akron/Canton, Ohio (July 15); Bentonville/Fayetteville, Ark. (July 15); Huntsville, Ala. (July 15); Louisville, Ky. (July 15); Norfolk (July 15); Oklahoma, Okla. (July 15); Richmond, Va. (July 15); Tulsa, Okla. (July 15); and Columbus, Ohio (July 16). All stops are new or underserved destinations for MSY.
Breeze is the fifth airline formed by Utah native David Neeleman, who also founded Morris Air (later bought by Southwest Airlines), Canada’s WestJet and Brazil’s Azul.
“Together, we created Breeze as a new airline merging technology with kindness,” said Neeleman in a press release. “Breeze provides nonstop service between underserved routes across the U.S. at affordable fares. A staggering 95 percent of Breeze routes currently have no airline serving them nonstop. With seamless booking, no change or cancellation fees, up to 24-months of reusable flight credit and customized flight features delivered via a sleek and simple app, Breeze makes it easy to buy and easy to fly.”
Breeze Airways will start with up to nine daily departures out of the new MSY terminal’s Concourse A. Local officials said that the airline will make a capital investment of $6.6 million at MSY and will create 261 new direct jobs, with an average salary of $65,000. Flight crews, maintenance staff and aircraft for the routes will be based here.
“Our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is putting New Orleans on the best track to be one of the safest places to live and visit,” said New Orleans Mayor Cantrell. “This connection to new and more cities shows that not only are we a safe place to visit, but the right place to do business. MSY will continue to serve as a prominent gateway and aviation hub for the state and the Gulf South region.”
Breeze will begin service with 13 single-class Embraer aircraft. All of the planes will feature a two-by-two seat configuration, so there are no middle seats. Routes will have an average flight length of under two hours. Breeze’s introductory fares start at $39 and there are no change or cancellation fees. Guests may choose from fares that include ‘nice’ regular seating, or ‘nicer’ seats with extra legroom. The company said it has ordered 60 new Airbus A220 aircraft that will be delivered one per month for five years, starting in October.
“Breeze Airways coming on board at MSY is not only a major win for New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast Region, but it’s also a positive sign that recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 is near,” said Michael Bagneris, chair of the New Orleans Aviation Board. “As an airport, we are always leaning forward and seeking opportunities to provide more flights options to travelers.”
Local officials, who began discussions with Breeze in 2019, estimate the project will result in an additional 877 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 1,138 new jobs in the New Orleans area. The airline said it selected MSY as one of its initial destinations and bases of operations because of the city’s charms and proximity to other desirable destinations.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, we understand the amount of pent-up excitement to travel once more, both for excited tourists to experience our unique and welcoming culture, as well as for Louisiana residents to explore new destinations,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “Breeze Airways is creating great new opportunities for our people as it establishes its maintenance base at MSY.”