DOT Clears Neeleman’s Breeze Airways for Launch

 - March 10, 2021, 3:44 PM
Breeze Airways took delivery of its first leased Embraer E190 in early February. (Photo: Breeze Airways)

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday cleared David Neeleman's latest airline venture, Breeze Airways, to launch operations with up to 22 large aircraft. The Salt Lake City-based company has already taken delivery of its first of 15 Embraer E190s leased from Nordic Aviation Capital and a pair of E195s subleased from another Neeleman-established airline, Brazil’s Azul. A revised agreement with Airbus called for first delivery of an order for 60 Airbus A220-300s this August.

Originally planning to launch service to midsize city pairs lacking scheduled service by the end of last year, Breeze delayed the launch until mid-2021 due to Covid-19 considerations.

The airline expects its initial scheduled operations to connect the Atlantic Coast, the southern U.S., Texas, and the Midwest. Plans call for Breeze to begin flying an A220 from the Atlantic Coast to California in October 2021. The airline will conduct line maintenance at its facility in Islip, New York, and has contracted with Embraer in Nashville, Tennessee, for heavy maintenance. The airline began maintenance and dispatcher training last September.

Breeze marks the fifth airline startup for Neeleman, perhaps best known for founding New York-based JetBlue. Other notable board members include Air Lease Corporation lead director Robert Milton and former ILFC chief executive Henri Courpron.