February 19, 2020

JetBlue Founder Unveils Utah-Based Airline Breeze Aviation

An air travel entrepreneur has introduced a new Utah-based airline carrier 20 years after launching JetBlue.

Utah native David Neeleman unveiled the official name of his fifth carrier startup Breeze Aviation on Friday, the Deseret News reported. He previously launched Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue and Azul.

Southwest acquired Morris Air in 1993, while WestJet and Azul are top-five carriers in Canada and Brazil, respectively, officials said.

“I never started an airline just to start an airline,” Neeleman said. “Right now, we see some pretty gaping holes in the industry.”

Neeleman has not yet announced potential routes for the carrier, but has said he plans to identify and leverage nonstop flights between currently underserved airports.

Neeleman’s approach is to prioritize a customer-centric system by taking methods from Uber and Amazon and launching an app-based toolkit that would allow passengers to find tickets, change or update travel plans, and add other travel necessities such as car rentals and accommodations, he said.

“The goal is to have our customers ... never having to speak with anybody, if they don’t want to,” Neeleman said. “Add a car, add a hotel, cancel a flight, make changes, it will all be there at your fingertips. Completely hassle-free flying.”

Breeze Aviation has leased 30 Embraer 195 aircraft from Azul that are expected to start flights in May, and ordered 60 new Airbus 220-300 aircraft that are expected to start flights in April 2021, company officials said.

The Airbuses are suited for nonstop travel between mid-size markets, while the Embraers can cost-effectively connect smaller markets, officials said.

Breeze could earn more than $1 million in tax rebates on plans to make over $3 million in capital investments and hire about 370 employees, Neeleman said.

Currently, there are no plans to service in or out of Salt Lake City International Airport, but other airports in the state could see new routes, he said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. From https://apnews.com.

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