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Breeze Airways Given Clearance to Operate Up to 22 Commercial Aircraft


The 2021 launch for Breeze Airways could be realistic after all, now that the U.S. Department of Transportation has signed off on their air operator certificate. The agency has given the new airline a green light to move forward, with final certification to be delivered if there are no objections.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Breeze Airways maintained they would be able to start operations in 2021. That goal is now one step closer, after the U.S. Department of Transportation gave a proposed approval to the company’s air operator certificate. The agency issued the order on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, nearly concluding a year-long certification process.

Proposed Certificate Allows Breeze to Operate “22 Large Aircraft”

Founded by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, Breeze started its journey in February 2020 with their application to the DOT. The company planned to operate out of Salt Lake City, Utah, with a fleet of 30 Embraer regional jets and up to 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft.

In their original application, Breeze announced “plans to bring low-cost, nonstop services to midsize markets abandoned by our current air transportation network.” The airline’s goal was to connect smaller markets with regional aircraft, giving flyers more access through “low-fare, high-quality service.”

“As major airlines have consolidated and concentrated their efforts at fortress hubs, entire segments of the country have seen their air travel options diminish — reachable only through connections and the corresponding increased travel times,” the airline’s first application read. “By flying a smaller plane with a lower trip cost, Breeze believes there are hundreds and hundreds of city pairs crying out for nonstop flights.”

With the proposed application approval, Breeze would be given clearance to begin operations with three leased Embraer E190/E195 aircraft, with seating for up to 118 passengers. From there, the airline would be allowed to build their fleet throughout the year, ultimately growing to a combination of 22 E190/E195 and A220 airframes before Dec. 31.

However, starting the airline will not be an easy operation. In their application, the DOT noted that Breeze expects to spend $57.5 million in startup costs, including paying employees and setting up office space. Once they begin flights the startup cost could increase up to $149.6 million. These costs are on top of the airline’s initial losses of $13 million since the company’s inception in 2018.

DOT Plans to Monitor Breeze Closely

Under the plan, the public will have 14 days to object to Breeze receiving an air operator certificate, with answers to objections due seven days after they are issued. Even after the certificate is issued, the airline will be subject to close monitoring, including giving the DOT 45-days’ notice of any new proposed service. The airline will also be required to submit a year-end report to the department, which is a requirement of all new air carriers.