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Breeze announces new base in Fort Myers, records first profitable month

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Breeze Airways is deepening its ties to Florida. The startup ultra-low-cost carrier is adding Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) near Fort Myers as its newest operating base later this year.

The Provo, Utah-based budget airline will make Fort Myers its ninth operating base effective Oct. 1, the company said Tuesday. The announcement comes just days after the airline opened another Florida base at Orlando International Airport (MCO).

As part of the move, the airline will base aircraft at RSW overnight — three jets from the outset — and become a crew base for both pilots and flight attendants.

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A ninth operating base

Launched in 2022, Breeze has placed a strong emphasis on Fort Myers of late.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, the carrier doubled its footprint at the airport over the prior year, the company noted Tuesday.

It flew a robust schedule this past winter season, as shown by Cirium. It included nonstop flights to many of the airline’s other operating bases (especially on the East Coast) and a handful of smaller cities, such as Syracuse, New York; Akron, Ohio; and Louisville, Kentucky.

Breeze's February 2024 route map out of Fort Myers
Breeze’s February 2024 route map out of Fort Myers. CIRIUM

Taking both seasonal and year-round destinations into account, Breeze serves 19 destinations from Fort Myers, it said. It also plans to add five routes from there in the coming months.

Here’s the full rundown of Breeze operating bases, including Fort Myers.

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Airport City
Bradley International Airport (BDL) Hartford
Charleston International Airport (CHS) Charleston, South Carolina
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) New Orleans
Norfolk International Airport (ORF) Norfolk, Virginia
Orlando International Airport (MCO) Orlando
Provo Municipal Airport (PVU) Provo, Utah
Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport (PVD) Providence
Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) Fort Myers
Tampa International Airport (TPA) Tampa


Not shying away from Florida

A Breeze Airways Airbus A220.

Interestingly, zeroing in on Fort Myers will give Breeze three operating bases in Florida. It’s a noteworthy move at a time when several airlines have been de-prioritizing the Sunshine State — and particularly Orlando — amid dropping fares and challenges flying profitably to longtime rock-solid leisure destinations.

Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines have both embarked on major network shakeups in recent months in search of more profitable flying. Frontier, for one, has shifted significant traffic out of the state since the start of the year.

Among Breeze’s peers, Frontier will grow its scheduled domestic seats to Florida by just 1.5% this summer after growing by 24% the previous summer. Spirit will grow by just 2.7% in June, July and August after 12% growth a year prior.

Fellow startup carrier Avelo (launched in 2021) will drop its capacity to Florida 41% this summer.

Breeze, on the other hand, will grow by around 49% this summer.

First profitable month

Though bucking the recent Florida trends, in some ways, the airline may be operating with a bit of confidence of late. On the same day it announced its Fort Myers plans, the company also revealed it wrapped up its first-ever profitable month in March — less than two years after commencing operations in 2022 under the guidance of JetBlue founder David Neeleman.

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“Starting an airline is not for the faint of heart, but we have remained true to our purpose: to give millions of travelers in underserved markets access to efficient and affordable air travel,” Breeze president Tom Doxey said in a statement Monday.

Breeze also recently unveiled plans for its first cobranded credit card and loyalty program. Nationwide, its seasonal and year-round network now includes 56 cities and 170 routes.

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