Breeze Airways is doubling down on what it knows works best. And then some.
The upstart budget airline will triple its service to Florida this winter compared to last year, expecting to operate a total of 1,402 flights to and from Florida, linking 51 city pairs.
The airline also plans to add service from the airport’s newest city: Plattsburgh International Airport (PBG), near Montreal along the Canadian border, to Orlando International Airport (MCO). Breeze will also add a twice-weekly flight from Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Maine to Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers. Breeze introduced service from Portland this past May with flights to Tampa International Airport (TPA) and Orlando.
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There are a total of 19 new and returning routes, generally connecting cities in the northern two-thirds of the country with Florida. The notable exception: a flight from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) to Fort Myers.
A full list of the routes is available at the bottom of this article.
“We’re really focusing on seasons,” David Neeleman, the airline’s founder, told TPG in an interview. “It’s a pivot to Florida for the winter, and you’ll see it kind of switch back in the summer.”
Neeleman, who is best known for founding New York-based JetBlue, noted that the airline’s flexibility and dynamism allow it to move its network around based on expected demand and seasonality, more so than traditional carriers.
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“That’s the advantage we have over just the regular scheduled carriers,” Neeleman said. “We’d really prefer to fly what people want to fly.”
Breeze launched in 2021 with a point-to-point business model, eschewing hubs in favor of point-to-point flying between city pairs that do not have competing nonstop service.
The airline began by operating short flights of less than two hours with a fleet of Embraer jets leased from Azul Airlines in Brazil, which Neeleman also founded. The airline has since added the Airbus A220 to its fleet, which has the range to connect any two cities in the continental U.S., allowing Breeze to expand and operate longer-range routes between smaller airports.
The business model, and the ability to shift large amounts of its capacity around, helps the airline even as larger carriers predict a slowdown in domestic travel demand, or at least in pricing power.
“It allows us to have higher yields, particularly in times of domestic softness,” Neeleman said.
Plattsburgh, in particular, allows Breeze to take advantage of demand from Montreal to warmer spots in Florida without having to get around the complications of setting up a point of sale in Canada itself. Among other things, processing international currencies presents logistical challenges.
Instead, Canadians can book tickets from Plattsburgh and cross the U.S. border by land.
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“Being close to the border in Plattsburgh and having people drive over is a preferred way to do that,” Neeleman said.
That’s not to say Breeze isn’t interested in flying internationally. On the contrary, Neeleman said the airline plans to launch service to the Caribbean and Mexico this spring.
“We’ve been working with the FAA to get our approval,” Neeleman said, “and so we should hopefully have that by the end of the year.”
“And so you’ll see some of the international flights starting in the spring and next summer,” he added.
TPG reported that Breeze was exploring the possibility of international flights in February 2022, as the airline prepared to launch its first A220 routes. At the time, the airline’s chief operating officer Lukas Johnson told TPG that the airline would focus on U.S.-originating passengers, which can be a sustainable model for routes between the U.S. and the Caribbean.
On Monday, Neeleman confirmed that was still the case.
“It’d be U.S. originating, mainly to places where people in the U.S. like to go,” he said.
He hinted at the possibility of flying farther afield, as well, within the parameters of there being demand from U.S.-based passengers.
“We’re flying a plane that can fly long distances,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons we got the A220 so that it can fly 3,000-plus miles away.”
But all of that is in the future for Breeze. For this winter, Florida is where it’s at.
New and returning Breeze routes to Florida
- Portland, Maine-Orlando (started Sept. 6)
- Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina-Tampa (started Sept. 7)
- New Orleans-Orlando (starts Sept. 22)
- Charleston, West Virginia-Tampa (starts Oct. 4)
- Pittsburgh-Tampa (starts Oct. 5)
- Columbus, Ohio-Tampa (starts Oct. 6)
- New Orleans-Fort Myers (starts Nov. 2)
- Norfolk, Virginia-Fort Myers (starts Nov. 2)
- Providence-Vero Beach, Florida (starts Nov. 2)
- Providence-Jacksonville, Florida (starts Nov. 3)
- Pittsburgh-Fort Myers (starts Nov. 15)
- Portland, Maine-Fort Myers (starts Nov. 15)
- Richmond, Virginia-Fort Myers (starts Nov. 15)
- Akron-Canton, Ohio-Fort Myers (starts Nov. 16)
- Columbus-Fort Myers (starts Nov. 16)
- Louisville, Kentucky-Fort Myers (starts Nov. 16)
- Raleigh-Durham-Fort Myers (starts Nov. 17)
- Syracuse, New York-Fort Myers (starts Nov. 17)
- Plattsburgh-Orlando (starts Nov. 28)