39 routes from $39: Breeze begins service on 27 May using Embraers; Charleston, New Orleans, Norfolk and Tampa welcome most flights
You wait years for a significant new airline to launch operations in the US and then two come along in quick succession. First it was Avelo, with its network of leisure oriented routes from Hollywood Burbank Airport and now we have Breeze Airways (IATA code MX, last used by Mexicana), the latest endeavour from serial airline entrepreneur David Neeleman (Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue and Azul). The use of MX as the airline’s flight number code is a nod to the airline project’s working title of Moxy Airways.
Initial fleet of Embraer jets while waiting for A220-300s
The airline’s initial fleet comprises a mix of Embraer E190s and E195s which appear to have been previously operated by a mix of Azul and Air Canada, according to analysis of fleet data from planespotters.net. The majority of these aircraft are over a dozen years old. Back in 2019 the airline signed an MoU with Airbus for 60 A220-300s. Since then, the order has been increased to 80 aircraft, with deliveries set to start in October 2021.
39 routes spread across 16 airports
Having made clear that its business model was to connect underserved medium-sized airports with direct, non-stop service, there had been much speculation about the airline’s initial network. When it was finally revealed, a total of 39 routes were announced involving 16 airports. The full list of flights from each airport is:
• Charleston (11): Akron/Canton, Columbus, Hartford, Huntsville, Louisville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Pittsburgh, Providence, Richmond, Tampa
• New Orleans (10): Akron/Canton, Charleston, Columbus, Fayetteville, Huntsville, Louisville, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Richmond, Tulsa
• Tampa (10): Akron/Canton, Charleston, Columbus, Fayetteville, Huntsville, Louisville, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Richmond, Tulsa
• Norfolk (7): Charleston, Columbus, Hartford, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Providence, Tampa
• Columbus (5): Charleston, Hartford, New Orleans, Norfolk, Tampa
• Hartford (4): Charleston, Columbus, Norfolk, Pittsburgh
• Pittsburgh (4): Charleston, Hartford, Norfolk, Providence
• Akron/Canton (3): Charleston, New Orleans, Tampa
• Fayetteville (3): New Orleans, San Antonio, Tampa
• Huntsville (3): Charleston, New Orleans, Tampa
• Louisville (3): Charleston, New Orleans, Tampa
• Oklahoma City (3): New Orleans, San Antonio, Tampa
• Providence (3): Charleston, Norfolk, Pittsburgh
• Richmond (3): Charleston, New Orleans, Tampa
• San Antonio (3): Fayetteville, Oklahoma City, Tulsa
• Tulsa (3): New Orleans, San Antonio, Tampa
Most of these routes are currently set to fly 4-weekly; on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. In fact, analysis of the airline’s current flight schedule shows no flights operating on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and very few on Saturdays. In scheduling terms this makes the airline similar to ULCC Allegiant Air, which also tends to focus its flying on the most popular days for travel. In July there will be competition on just seven of the 39 routes, with Tampa to Columbus seeing competition from Southwest and Spirit, which should be interesting.
Tampa to Charleston was first flight
Despite only announcing its initial route network on 21 May, the airline has managed to launch a handful of routes before the potentially lucrative Memorial Day weekend (29-31 May). These were Charleston to Tampa, Hartford and Louisville, and between Tampa and Louisville. The airline’s inaugural flight (MX1) took off from Tampa at 10:44 on Thursday 27 May and touched down in Charleston 65 minutes later at 11:49. It was operated by an E195, registration N190BZ. This was followed by the first flight using the same aircraft from Charleston to Hartford (MX2).