NEW ORLEANS — Yesterday, Breeze Airways formally launched operations at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, or MSY, with the arrival of a Breeze flight from Huntsville, Alabama. Breeze Airways CEO David Neeleman joined with state and local officials to celebrate the new service in New Orleans. In May, Breeze Airways announced the development of an operations base at MSY, with a capital investment of $6.6 million and the creation of 261 new direct jobs, with an average salary of $65,000, plus benefits.
Breeze’s formal launch of service marks the start of flights connecting New Orleans with Huntsville; Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Akron/Canton, Ohio; Charleston, South Carolina; Louisville, Kentucky; and Bentonville/Fayetteville, Arkansas. Service between New Orleans and Columbus, Ohio, begins July 16.
“Louisiana is proud to welcome Breeze Airways with open arms, and we celebrate today’s momentous occasion as aviation operations officially commence,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “The summer travel season is well underway, and so far, it has seen some of the busiest days since before the pandemic. Louisianans are eager to travel again, and we are excited to welcome visitors to our great state once more. Breeze is the latest option these visitors can take to explore New Orleans and the rest of our wonderful state.”
Travelers arriving in New Orleans from Huntsville were greeted by the Second Line Jazz Band upon entering the terminal. The jazz band will lead dignitaries to the plane departing for Richmond and water cannons will spray a salute when the plane takes off.
“We’re so grateful for the support of Louisiana Economic Development and Louis Armstrong International airport as we celebrate the arrival of Breeze’s fourth base today: New Orleans,” said Neeleman. “By Friday, we’ll be serving ten new markets nonstop from MSY and this is just the beginning. At Breeze, we only fly nonstop routes, avoiding hubs, and with our low fares, we’ll get you there in half the time, for half the price.”
Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Breeze Airways is the latest airline launched by Neeleman, who previously launched JetBlue, Morris Air, WestJet and Azul airlines. Breeze Airways launched with the intention of pairing mid-sized U.S. cities that currently do not have nonstop service. The airline’s debut network comprises 39 nonstop routes between 16 cities in the Southwest, Midwest, Southeast and Eastern U.S. Breeze will focus most of its flights from four main airports: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, as well as airports in Tampa, Florida; Charleston and Norfolk.
“As New Orleans continues to our Road to Recovery, and as we continue to welcome more visitors, we are glad to offer even more opportunities for people to visit a city that is truly like none other across the country,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “I am glad to be joined by other leaders and very important people as we celebrate this $6.6 million capital investment and the creation of over 250 new jobs for the City of New Orleans. The launch of Breeze Airways is just another example of the city’s commitment to not only providing more economic development opportunities, but more safe and affordable travel opportunities as well.”
Breeze Airways is providing up to nine daily departures on peak days, with opportunities for more departures in the future. The airline launched its New Orleans operations with three Embraer E190 aircraft, which can seat up to 108 passengers. Breeze flights will arrive and depart at Concourse A, located on the west end of the new terminal. Passengers may choose from fares that include regular seating, or seats with extra legroom. All of Breeze’s Embraer aircraft feature a two-by-two seat configuration, so there are no middle seats.
“I am thrilled that the residents of this region now have the opportunity to experience everything Breeze Airways has to offer,” said Kevin C. Dolliole, Director of Aviation for MSY. “Breeze is making a significant investment in our local economy, and I am grateful for the cooperative efforts of our economic development and tourism partners who were very helpful as we worked with Breeze to finalize plans to launch service as an operations base in New Orleans. I’m looking forward to more to come from this airline at Louis Armstrong Airport.”
To secure the airline’s investment in New Orleans, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes the services of LED FastStart® – the nation’s No. 1 workforce training and talent attraction program for the past 11 years. Additionally, the airline will receive a performance-based grant of $2.3 million over the next 10 years to support the company’s entry into MSY. The company is also expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs program.
“Welcoming Breeze Airways to the Louis Armstrong Airport with ten new destinations is a major win for this region as we continue to recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” said Judge Michael Bagneris, Chair of the New Orleans Aviation Board. “Special thanks to David Neeleman and the entire Breeze team for making such a solid investment in our airport. I encourage everyone to take advantage of these affordable new flights.”
“It has been a pleasure to work alongside airport officials and the State of Louisiana over the past two years to bring Breeze Airways into the GNO region,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “New Orleans International Airport was recently ranked No. 1 for customer satisfaction in America, so it is fitting that an airline with such a prestigious customer service pedigree is choosing MSY for multiple new flights and an operations base.”