Breeze Airways, a new U.S. airline founded by entrepreneur David Neeleman, publicly announced an order for 20 Airbus A220-330s for longer flights, confirming a Reuters report earlier this year.
This order brings Breeze’s total A220 order to 80, making it the family’s second customer after Delta Air Lines and overtaking Neeleman-backed JetBlue.
Breeze is Neeleman’s fifth commercial airline and is injecting new competition into a struggling airline market as domestic travel in the United States recovers from the coronavirus crisis.
It began operations in May with regional Embraer jets and plans to begin using the new Canadian-designed A220 on routes over two hours flight time from early 2022.
“It just shows that growth is on the way,” Neeleman told Reuters in an interview after confirming the purchase, which involved the exercise of call options.
Reuters reported in April that Breeze had placed an order for 20 Airbus A220 jets, bringing its total to 80, but the buyer’s name was withheld – a common practice as airlines tweak their marketing plans well kept.
Airbus has confirmed that the order announced on Monday, September 13 is already on its books under the undisclosed buyers column.
Breeze will take delivery of its first A220 next month, October 26. After that, Breeze will take delivery of a total of 80 A220s at a rate of one per month for the next six and a half years.
Airbus has announced that the A220 aircraft will be delivered from its assembly line in Mobile, Alabama.
Last month, the parent company of Breeze Airways 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.
Breeze’s current operations
Breeze currently serves 16 US cities and nearly 40 routes. Using 13 Embraer planes, it set itself the goal of connecting small American towns with little to no direct service from larger carriers including Tampa, Florida or Norfolk, Virginia.
Additional statements by Neeleman
Neeleman, who has founded a series of airlines including JetBlue and Canadian company WestJet, said he also plans to acquire about half a dozen more Embraer jets next year.
He said Breeze reservations are “a little softer” in the near term due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but appear stronger further away. “The virus has probably taken 10% of the bookings,” he said.
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