From coast to coast: Breeze Airways expands to Orange County, CEO talks trends

Breeze Airways received approval to start service to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, and plans to begin flights there on Feb. 16. 

The airline’s first services at Orange County will reach Orlando (MCO) and Breeze’s home-base airport in Provo, Utah.

“We wanted to do something different to offer the community something they’ve never had access to before,” Breeze’s Chief Commercial Officer Lukas Johnson told USA TODAY. “They have very little (transcontinental) service despite being a premium airport.”

CEO David Neeleman told USA TODAY that being able to differentiate from other airlines’ service was the key to Breeze being awarded slots in the notoriously competitive airport. 

“We went in and made a good case that we could do something different,” he said. “The airport authority agreed with us.”

Inside look:A review of Breeze Airways’ early days

A comfier ride?:Spirit Airlines will offer new wider seats

A Breeze Airways Airbus A220

Breeze’s service plans in Orange County

When service begins on Feb. 16, Breeze will offer one daily round-trip flight along the route Provo-Orange County-Orlando. Passengers will be able to buy nonstop tickets between Provo and Orange County or Orange County and Orlando, or single-stop itineraries between Provo and Orlando with no change of planes required.

“Today marks both our 100th nonstop and our 34th destination with the addition of Orange County,” Breeze Airways’ president Tom Doxey said in a statement. “I can’t think of a better way to commemorate this milestone than for the ‘nicest airline’ to connect two of the ‘happiest places on earth.’ “

Other expansion plans:Breeze Airways and Avelo Airlines will grow this winter

Introductory fares start at $119 one-way between Orange County and Orlando, and $49 one-way between Provo and Orange County. The promotional introductory fares must be purchased by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 15 for travel on or before May 16. 

Johnson said he’s optimistic that Breeze will help lower fares in general at the Orange County airport, and added that families in particular are poised to benefit from some of the airline’s policies. 

“We’re the only carrier to offer free family-assigned seating,” he said. “We’re not going to be charging you a bunch of money to sit with your family going to these family-friendly destinations.”

Changing travel patterns

Ahead of the new route announcement, Breeze’s CEO spoke to USA TODAY about some of the key trends in the airline industry right now, and said it seems like the pandemic may have permanently changed the seasonality of air travel.

“Every weekend is turning into a holiday weekend,” Neeleman said, adding that many of the airline’s routes are only served on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays, in part because of that trend. 

Neeleman said he’s not especially concerned about pilot hiring, pointing to Breeze’s low attrition rate, but said aircraft deliveries are a bigger issue in the short term.

“Instead of 12 (plane deliveries) a year, we get 10,” he said. “That should even out in the next 12 months.”

He also said that filling the spots left by regional carriers pulling out of secondary air markets has helped guide Breeze’s growth. 

“We’re going to look for markets that have high demand and low air service,” he said. 

Breeze plans to continue growing its network in 2023 and eventually hopes to serve more destinations from Orange County if it can secure more landing slots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *