Getting in and out of Connecticut this summer will be perhaps easier than ever, thanks to new airline options. Breeze Airways announced this week it will make Bradley International Airport (BDL) outside Hartford a base and increase the number of flights and routes served. The move comes on the heels of New Haven getting a boost from Avelo.
Today’s announcement from Breeze is welcome news for both the Connecticut Airport Authority and the state’s tourism industry, with eight new routes on the way.– Tony Sheridan, chair of the Connecticut Airport Authority Board of Directors
Bradley was a day one destination for Breeze, with service from Charleston, South Carolina. The carrier currently serves four markets from BDL, but that number is expected to triple with the new base arrangement. The company expects to announce eight more markets in the weeks ahead.
Read More: Breeze puts A220 flights on sale
The new base also comes with economic incentives from Connecticut. The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is supporting the project by providing a grant in arrears of up to $1,262,000 contingent on the company creating and retaining 212 full-time jobs.
An A220 focus
And, while not explicitly stated, it appears the airport may become the first all A220 base for Breeze. Current schedules show Bradley only served by A220s from June onward. It is the only airport in the Breeze network with that distinction.
With eight more routes to come, the Embraer E-Jets could also help boost the operation, but there are some efficiencies to be had with only operating a single type at the airport. Company officials declined to comment on specifics of aircraft deployment planning.
Breeze holds orders for 80 A220-300 aircraft, with one plane per month slated for delivery for the foreseeable future.
A compelling configuration for longer routes
The longer range of the A220-300, as well as Breeze’s premium-heavy configuration, could fare well in Hartford. It is a market that has seen longer-haul service off and on over the years. American Airlines served Los Angeles in the pre-COVID era while JetBlue offers LA and San Francisco today. Denver has been a popular longer route, with Frontier, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines all offering it. San Juan and Las Vegas also show on the longer side of the route map.
Breeze’s intention to fly longer-haul, including transcons, with the A220 is well established. And while the carrier might try to not compete directly against incumbents as it launches new routes, eventually some overlap will have to occur.
And, of course, Breeze can always fall back on the seemingly limitless demand for flights between the Northeast and Florida. The economics of operating the E-Jet fleet on that route are marginal, owing to the longer stage lengths. CEO David Neeleman likes to keep those planes flying trips under two hours. But the A220s are far more efficient on longer flights and will expand Breeze’s options.
Plus, the longer flights would seem better suited to take advantage of the carrier’s significant premium cabin layout. With 36 more spacious seats filling the forward half of the plane, up-sell potential for the longer trips could be a more compelling option for travelers.
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