Breeze Airways Unveils Order For 20 Airbus A220-330 Aircraft
Breeze Airways, a new US carrier founded by entrepreneur David Neeleman, has publicly unveiled an order for 20 Airbus A220-330 aircraft as it looks to operate longer flights, confirming a Reuters report from earlier this year.
The order brings Breeze's total A220 order to 80, making it the family's second-biggest customer after Delta Air Lines and leapfrogging Neeleman-backed JetBlue.
Breeze is Neeleman's fifth commercial airline and is injecting new competition into a battered airline market as US domestic travel recovers from the coronavirus crisis.
It began operations in May using Embraer regional jets and plans to start using the new, Canadian-designed A220 on routes longer than two hours’ flight time from early 2022.
"This just shows growth is on the way," Neeleman told Reuters in an interview after confirming the purchase, which involved the exercising of purchase options.
Reuters reported in April that Breeze had placed an order for 20 Airbus A220 jets, bringing its total to 80, but that the name of the buyer was being withheld - a common practise as airlines polish tightly held marketing plans.
On The Books
Airbus confirmed that the order announced on Monday September 13 is already on its books in the undisclosed buyer column.
Breeze will take delivery of its first A220 next month, on October 26. After that, Breeze will take delivery of a total of 80 A220s at one per month for the next six and a half years.
Airbus said that the A220 aircraft will be delivered from its Mobile, Alabama, assembly line.
Last month, Breeze Airways' parent company closed a $200 million Series B funding round led by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock Inc and Knighthead Capital Management LLC.
Breeze Aviation Group had previously raised more than $100 million.
Current Breeze Operations
Breeze currently serves 16 US cities and nearly 40 routes. Using 13 Embraer aircraft, it has set its sights on linking smaller US cities with little or no direct service from larger carriers, including Tampa, Florida or Norfolk, Virginia.
Additional Neeleman Statements
Neeleman, who has founded a string of airlines including JetBlue and Canada's WestJet, said that he also expects to acquire approximately a half-dozen additional Embraer planes next year.
He said that Breeze's bookings are "a little softer" in the near-term because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but look stronger further out. "The virus has probably taken 10% out of the bookings," he said.