By Winston Shek
Breeze Airways Eyes Long Beach Service in the Fall
On June 2, Long Beach Airport, an airport in Southern California, announced its newest airline set to launch in the fall. Due to the reorganization of two slot pairs, Long Beach awarded a slot pair to Breeze Airways, a budding U.S. low-cost carrier. Southwest Airlines received the other slot pair as part of Delta Air Lines’ relinquishing its two slots.
Breeze Airways has not announced the destination it will serve from Long Beach, though the route will be flown daily presumably. Depending on the flight length and demand, the low-cost carrier can utilize its Airbus A220-300, Embraer E190 and Embraer E195 aircraft. Breeze Airways transcontinental-capable Airbus A220-300 features 36 first-class seats in a 2-2 configuration and 80 economy seats in a 2-3 configuration, some of which host extra legroom.
As mentioned in a prior interview with Breeze Airways CEO David Neeleman, the Embraer E190 and Embraer E195 are preferred on flights with a shorter stage length. Both are configured in a 2-2 configuration, but the former showcases 108 seats, while the latter holds 118 seats.
In a statement, Long Beach Airport Director Cynthia Guidry states: “Our airport is in a strong position to retain and attract airlines such as Breeze Airways that connect our great city to visitors and new, exciting destinations.”
Breeze Airways joins four other carriers in serving Long Beach, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Long Beach receives service to fifteen destinations, where American Airlines and Delta Air Lines fly to their respective hubs in Phoenix and Salt Lake City, while Hawaiian Airlines connects Long Beach to Honolulu and Kahului.
Due to noise-control restrictions, the airport is limited to 53 aircraft slots a day, a majority of which are held by Southwest Airlines. Formerly, JetBlue grew a focus city at Long Beach, which operated transcontinental flights to New York-JFK and Boston. The exit of JetBlue in 2020 in favor of Los Angeles allowed Southwest Airlines to double its slot holdings from 17 to a current 38. Currently, Southwest Airlines operates to a vast array of 14 destinations across the Midwest, Texas, and the Western U.S.
Breeze Airways serves three other airports in California, two of which are in Southern California. Specifically, the Provo, Ut.-based airline will add Los Angeles and San Bernardino, slated for a summer launch. As the airline targets underserved or unserved routes, Los Angeles will see five new destinations, four of which are unserved. Meanwhile, Breeze Airways is San Bernardino’s first airline, seeing service to San Francisco. However, a SCASD grant application filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation reveals Breeze Airways could target a new flight to Sacramento from San Bernardino.
In the Western United States, Breeze Airways also serves Las Vegas and Provo, Utah. Provo, Utah is connected with Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, while Las Vegas will operate ten flights primarily to East Coast destinations.
Breeze Airways was launched in May 2021 as a venture by David Neeleman – the founder of Azul and JetBlue – to target underserved markets and destinations in the United States. Initially, the Provo-based carrier announced 39 routes and 16 destinations, tripling its route portfolio to a planned 90 routes and doubling its destinations to 31 over a year. On May 25, 2022, Breeze Airways commenced its first A220 flights from Tampa to Richmond and onto San Francisco, a major milestone. The Airbus A220 is an integral part of Breeze Airways’ plans as it looks for more transcontinental opportunities and potential international expansion.