Breeze sees 'intriguing opportunities' at home and abroad

Breeze Airways head of planning Max Barrus tells Routes about the startup's process for identifying new opportunities.

US start-up LCC Breeze Airways is eyeing rapid expansion and seeking network growth opportunities across the Americas, Caribbean and Western Europe.

The carrier, founded by serial entrepreneur David Neeleman—who also launched WestJet, JetBlue and Azul Brazilian Airlines among others—is targeting unserved markets in “cities that have been forgotten or neglected."

At present Breeze serves 16 US airports, offering the most capacity from Charleston (CHS), New Orleans Louis Armstrong (MSY) and Tampa International (TPA).

Breeze is currently hosting a request for proposals (find out more) for new airport partners, and the airline’s head of planning Max Barrus told Routes that the process will help to identify new opportunities for both immediate and future service.

“While we rapidly grow over the next few years, having a large number of in-depth proposals from potential airport partners is important so that we can analyze and prioritize who might fit into our network and when,” Barrus said.

The airline currently has firm orders for 60 Airbus A220-300s to be delivered over the next five years, “effectively one a month every month over that time”, a rate of growth which will necessitate many network options.

Breeze also has the option of adding additional A220 aircraft and could acquire more of the Embraer E-Jets it used to launch its domestic network.

“We have an additional 60 A220 options that we can exercise, as well as adding to the E190/195 fleet as we find the right used aircraft opportunities,” Barrus explained.

Although the carrier is looking for opportunities both at home and overseas, Barrus said the network mix is currently flexible and will settle as management observes “how different demand profiles recover”.

“We will get a better sense on the mix of domestic vs. international routes, but there are many intriguing opportunities on both sides,” he said.

In addition to seeking unserved or underserved markets, Barrus said incentives and a cost structure which meets its needs as an LCC will play a role in which airports Breeze adds to its network.

“The items that make the largest difference are direct airport cost waivers/offsets for the first few years as we mature in a market and a long-term low-cost structure that makes sure we can be successful in the long run,” he said.

Photo credit: Breeze Airways