In many was the massive route expansion announced by Breeze Airways this week delivered exactly as expected. The carrier will add 10 new cities and 35 new markets over the summer. It is a rapid expansion that includes a dozen long-haul routes (plus one seasonal) to be operated by the carrier’s new A220-300 fleet and its premium-heavy configuration.
The type is a “game changer” according to CEO and Founder David Neeleman, an aircraft which “embodies the Breeze ideal of merging kindness with technology, pairing unrivaled passenger comfort with eco-friendly efficiency.”
As with Breeze‘s initial route network, as well as subsequent expansions, the carrier will be the sole operator on nearly all the new routes it adds to the network. Most will operate just two or three days per week, even with the A220s which should demand higher utilization to help cover their costs.
The new schedule adds red-eye flights into the operations. The A220s will make some daytime flights from the west coast, but also some at night.
Hartford will grow, as promised with its “promotion” to being a crew/aircraft base for Breeze. And, as expected, all the routes based from Hartford continue to be A220s, though one E90 turn does sneak in from Richmond.
Perhaps more interesting, however, are some of the unexpected bits the company brings to light with the new schedule.
Conquering the Inland Empire
The announcement includes Breeze becoming the only commercial operator at San Bernardino, California. The airline will operate daily service to San Francisco on an Embraer E-Jet. That is strange in that it is one of very few routes the carrier operates daily. Also, it is the only E190 route on the west coast.
Based on the flight timings and how the company has otherwise expanded its operations, it is reasonable to assume that San Bernardino will soon be designated a base for the carrier, with multiple routes cropping up to connect the Inland Empire to destinations across the west, preferably less than two hours flying away.
That range opens up Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Southern Idaho. Plus all of California. No doubt the company can find a handful of markets in that collection of airports to serve a couple times per week.
The first route doesn’t start until August, leaving plenty of time for Breeze to announce new destinations and capture some quality revenue.
Introducing BreezeThrough operations
Breeze still does not sell connecting itineraries. But not all of its routes will be non-stop service, either. The company now offers one-stop, direct service in some markets. It calls the option a “BreezeThrough” routing, noting that the plane stops en route, but passengers will not switch to a different aircraft.
Traditionally known as “direct” flights, this approach can help indirect flight options appear atop certain legacy sales systems. It also has the potential to confuse travelers, especially when the airline does not otherwise sell trips with a stop along the way.
There are only a few of these routes to start, even where others could be possible thanks to the aircraft routing.
Hartford to Tulsa or Oklahoma City via Nashville could work, as the planes will make the trip. But, at least for now, Breeze is not selling those as a BreezeThrough route.
Note: Breeze has increased the number of BreezeThrough routings since the initial schedule release and publication, including the above-mentioned Hartford to Oklahoma routes.
An alternate A220 configuration
When introducing its very premium-heavy A220-300, Breeze CEO David Neeleman indicated that the company would absolutely consider other cabin configurations. Even before the planes enter service, that decision has been made.
The initial A220 aircraft deliveries offer 126 seats, including 36 First Class seats in a two-by-two configuration, 10 Extra Legroom seats, and 80 Standard Economy seats in a two-by-three configuration. Later deliveries will shift, however. The 137 total seats configuration will offer 12 First Class seats, 45 Extra Legroom seats and 80 Standard Economy seats onboard.
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