New York’s Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP) and Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) are slated to join the Breeze Airways network map in 2022, part of an eight route expansion for the airline. The new markets will offer service on the carrier’s Embraer fleet, though a hint of A220 service also snuck in to the conversation.
We’re excited to introduce Breeze service to South Florida and the New York area, and look forward to adding more routes from both Palm Beach and Islip.– David Neeleman, Breeze’s Chairman and CEO
Saturday Service to Florida
From Palm Beach the carrier will add six new routes on 19 February. Flights to New Orleans, Columbus, Akron, Richmond, Norfolk, and Charleston all fit squarely within the carrier’s focus of delivering point-to-point service in smaller, shorter markets where other carriers only offer connecting flights.
All of the new routes come in under 1,000 miles, holding to Breeze‘s efforts to keep flight time below two hours to help control costs. And the flights all will be the only airline operating in the market.
Read More: Taking off: The Breeze Airways era begins
But, counter to the company’s initial focus, all six routes will fly on Saturday. And only on Saturday. To date Breeze mostly avoided Saturday service, seeing demand as too low to justify the operations.
Whether the change in plan here is driven by stronger demand for week-long vacations in South Florida or another factor remains to be seen.
Looking to Long Island
Long Island’s MacArthur Airport served as the home base for Breeze’s certification test flights and has long been rumored as part of the carrier’s route network. Short hops to Norfolk (2x weekly) and Charleston (4x weekly), however, were not generally what was expected.
Read More: Breeze bets big on premium with new A220s
Both markets fit the company’s definition of smaller, underserved markets. Unless you consider New York City’s major airports as part of the same market. In mid-February when the Breeze routes launch Charleston sees 17 daily flights across the other three airports that make up the NYC market. Norfolk gets 19. And while Islip is certainly more convenient for some who otherwise would fly from LaGuardia or JFK, the overall historical traffic levels don’t suggest unmet demand. At least not for people visiting NYC proper.
These routes will be served from the bases at Charleston and Norfolk, not with a plane based at Islip. And the stage length fits with the company’s efforts to keep things below two hours. At least until the A220s show up.
The A220s bring change
As the company’s fleet of new A220 aircraft comes online the potential for Islip to shift roles in the Breeze network improves dramatically. During the new route announcement CEO and founder David Neeleman hinted that Arizona was a market ripe for growth. The A220 fleet would enable that service and more.
Basing one or more of the A220s at Islip would enable some of these transcon type routes. They could be blended with Florida turns that typically show unlimited customer demand and which many expected to be the backbone of Islip’s initial role in the Breeze network.
That the first A220 still has not been delivered to the company, despite its unveiling to media six weeks ago, is an interesting twist. Presumably the issues affecting the delivery process will be sorted such that Breeze will still be able to get the five-ish in the fleet by early next year to launch service on the type. But that’s worth keeping an eye on.
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