The founder of JetBlue just launched a new US airline geared toward routes that others have left behind

BreezeA visualisation of an Embraer E195 with Breeze branding.

JetBlue founder David Neeleman launched his fifth startup airline on Friday and announced that the new carrier would be called Breeze.

The airline, which was previously code-named Moxy, just submitted its application for an airline operating certificate with the Federal Aviation Administration and US Department of Transportation.

The airline has been under discussion for several years as Neeleman worked to order aircraft and finalise plans.

After JetBlue, Neeleman – who was born in Brazil and raised in Utah – returned to Brazil, where he launched the low-cost airline Azul.

Azul entered the Brazilian market by launching routes between dozens of small and midsize cities that previously did not have direct flights from Brazil’s larger airlines.

“It’s really transformed Brazil in ways I could have never imagined,” Neeleman said in a 2019 interview with Business Insider. “A lot of the cities we fly to, it’s either you go on us or you take a four-day boat ride out of there.”

Though there were operational challenges, the strategy paid off.

Azul, which has a market capitalisation of more than $US2.8 billion, has no competition on 70% of its routes and is dominant on 89% of its routes, Neeleman said in that earlier interview.

With Breeze, Neeleman plans to follow essentially the same strategy by launching point-to-point flights in markets that bigger airlines have either overlooked or didn’t consider to be worth the effort.

According to Neeleman, the opportunity exists because as costs increase for airlines, they have a tendency to retrench their network to focus on their hubs and operate larger planes. They leave behind smaller less-trafficked destinations, creating opportunity.

“We think there’s a market where you can go with a smaller plane with a lower trip cost and service these cities that have been forgotten or neglected,” he said. “I would be very surprised if a single Moxy route had nonstop service competition. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of city pairs that are crying out for nonstop flights.”

Breeze Airbus A220-300 MoxyBreezeA rendering of a Breeze Airbus A220-300.

The airline has ordered 60 new Airbus A220-300 aircraft – a longer version of the A220-100s that have been highly successful for Delta. Air Canada recently began flying the A220-300 variant.

Breeze also plans to lease 30 Embraer E195 jets from Azul, deliveries of which will begin in May 2020. The A220s are expected beginning in April 2021.

Neeleman hopes to begin commercial operations by the end of 2020.

“Twenty years ago, we brought humanity back to the airline industry with JetBlue,” he said in a press release. “Today, we’re excited to introduce plans for ‘the World’s Nicest Airline.'”

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