This is part I of a two-part story about 2020 for the major airlines in Brazil in alphabetic order: Azul,…
First Breeze E190 Leaves Paintshop
The first aircraft for Breeze Airways, the new project of JetBlue, Azul and WestJet founder David Neeleman, has left the paint shop. The aircraft, an Embraer E190 registered N90NA, was spotted at Juan Santamaría’s International Airport, where it is under the care of the Coopesa workshop, at the end of December.
Though Breeze has an active order for Airbus A220 aircraft, it has taken some old Embraer airplanes from Azul to help it kickstart operations this spring. The carrier will eventually phase out its Embraer planes as Airbus deliveries start in August.
Breeze plans to operate point-to-point flights between underserved secondary cities usually overlooked by larger legacy carriers. The airline maintains that bypassing traditional hubs will make for a smoother, more convenient passenger experience by helping travelers avoid long waits in crowded terminals.
Breeze originally planned on launching in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic pushed that start back. The current plan is to begin flights in March. While it certainly isn’t the easiest time to launch an airline, Breeze does has an advantage because of its unique model: it will not have to compete with large, well-established airlines on most, if any, of its routes, allowing it to operate routes – which it believes will be popular given their supposedly-underserved nature – with little to no competition.
Neeleman’s airlines are well-known for offering a customer-centric experience despite their low-cost model, and it seems Breeze will be no exception. There are rumors that Breeze might use a product similar to JetBlue’s Mint business class.
Breeze also plans on operating at airports without much airline traffic, like Gary/Chicago International Airport in Indiana. This will give it substantial brand recognition and boost brand image among locals who may be yearning for regular, easily-accessible flights.
In October 2020, Breeze raised $83 million in Series A financing to help it establish its operations this year. The carrier says the extra money will help it focus on growing its team and utilizing state-of-the-art technology ahead of its launch. The carrier has a complete executive team and is training pilots and dispatchers. Funding came from Sandlot Partners and Peterson Partners.
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