The latest low-cost carrier adding direct regional flights to BNA’s ever-growing schedule caters to travelers heading to cities without prior nonstop service to Nashville.
Breeze Airways was founded last year in Utah by airline mogul David Neeleman, a seasoned entrepreneur who uses consumer data and technology to deliver low-cost nonstop regional travel.
Beginning June 2, Breeze will begin fast flights from Nashville to Akron/Canton, Ohio; Hartford, Connecticut; and Tulsa, Okla.
“Nashville is a growing area and we want to go to places that people want to go,” Neeleman said. “We have a lower travel cost than others. We do better without competition.”
Activity at Nashville International Airport has exceeded 2019 levels, and the Metro Nashville Airport Authority is investing billions of dollars to expand and modernize the 1980s facility by 2026.
Neeleman, one of the founders of JetBlue, and his wife stayed at the boutique Thompson Hotel in the Gulch to celebrate Music City’s inaugural flights – and to listen to live country music.
“Nashville is a big city,” Neeleman said. “We have a model where we see, for example, 50 people a day going to Hartford. So we fly direct and reduce costs. We can drive a market up to 20 times.”
To deal with nationwide staff shortages, the airline is relying on its easy-to-use mobile app for customer service interactions via text messaging and chat services. Neeleman said inquiries were answered “within 10 minutes”. Breeze also offers no change or cancellation fees, but instead offers refunds.
Neeleman has been supporting tech-savvy airlines for decades, and he said targeted cost savings are paying off big profits.
Breeze’s new BNA routes join the recent additions of low-cost newcomer Flair Airlines with service to Edmonton and Toronto, Canada; Air Canada’s new Montreal flights; and Southwest’s expanded service in Portland, Maine; Portland, Oregon; and Oklahoma City.
Last year, Swoop Airlines from Canada expanded to the US cities of Nashville, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles last year.
Houston-based Avelo Airlines introduced a new Connecticut-Nashville connection in February, and Allegiant added jets to Washington DC, Providence and Roanoke to BNA in April. Contour Airlines has added regional stops.
In June 2021, Allegiant Air announced 23 new nonstop U.S. routes, including nonstop service to Palm Springs, California, and Jacksonville and Melbourne, Florida.
Customer service is paramount in the hospitality industry and Breeze has trademarked the phrase “Seriously Nice” for its brand.
Besides the friendly workers, Breeze’s fleet of Airbus A220s and Embraer 190s have seats with “more leg room” and fewer middle seats due to their two-by-two and two-by-three seating arrangements. per row.
“The airline plans to more than double its fleet this year to 30 aircraft, including 14 Airbus A220s and three additional Embraer E-jets,” according to a company statement. “Breeze has ordered 80 new Airbus A220-300s, which will be delivered one per month over the next six years, with options for a further 40.”
Raised in Brazil by missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Neeleman helped launch Brazil’s largest airline, Azul, after serving as a missionary there.
He also contributed to the start of WestJet in Canada and the first users of electronic tickets Morris Air, since acquired by Southwest.
Breeze was founded last year with a Charleston-Tampa connection and now operates 20 routes through Charleston, its main hub.
Nashville International Airport is working feverishly to expand Concourses A and D with more gates to accommodate the growing schedule.
The main terminal is being refurbished with an imposing new ceiling from which a A $900,000 art sculpture will be hung.
The MNAA encourages expansion with free discounts on marketing and landing fees for newcomers. Air Canada received a discount package worth $371,000 when it added new routes. British Airways snagged up to $2 million for its trips to London and Flair Airlines took home $255,000 for its investment in BNA.
“Our team is always working to attract new airlines and new routes to BNA that provide more nonstop destinations and more choice for Tennessee travelers,” said BNA CEO Doug Kreulen. “With these new Breeze Airways routes, it’s even easier to see our Titans at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton or plan a quick summer trip to Oklahoma or Connecticut.”
Sandy Mazza can be reached by email at [email protected], by calling 615-726-5962 or on Twitter @SandyMazza.