Less than two years after the final departure of JetBlue out of Long Beach Airport, one of the co-founders of the company is set to bring a new airline concept to Long Beach, airport officials announced today in a memo.
Utah-based Breeze Airways is slated to begin flying out of the small municipal airport after acquiring one of two flight slots relinquished by Delta. Southwest was also awarded the other slot.
Destinations for the two new flights have yet to be announced.
Out of Los Angeles International Airport, Breeze already flies to several locations, including New York and Rhode Island. The company also has operations in Florida, Connecticut and other East Coast and Midwest cities.
Long Beach currently has no direct flights to the East Coast.
“It’s no secret—airlines and travelers know that Long Beach is the coolest and most convenient gateway to Southern California,” said Long Beach Airport Director Cynthia Guidry. “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 service is slated to begin this fall, according to airport officials.
This is the second time in six months Delta has relinquished flight slots at Long Beach Airport, which has a daily flight limit of 53. In February, Southwest and American Airlines were awarded one flight slot each after Delta surrendered them in December.
Southwest has further solidified itself as the leading carrier out of the airport, with 38 allocated flight slots. Delta still has seven flights out of the airport, while American has four, Hawaiian Airlines has two, and Breeze and UPS have one each.
The airport maintains a waiting list for airlines hoping to acquire flight slots. Prior to the new allocation, the list included, in order: American, Hawaiian, Southwest, Canadian airline Swoop and Breeze, which requested to be added to the list on Feb. 28, airport spokeswoman Kate Kuykendall told the Business Journal.
Southwest had requested both slots, while American, Hawaiian and Swoop declined a slot, the memo states. The waitlist now, in order, is: Swoop, Breeze, American, Hawaiian and Southwest, according to the memo.
Breeze was co-founded by David Neeleman, who also co-founded JetBlue Airways in 1998. He left the company in 2007. The company focuses on direct, nonstop flights between smaller, “underserved routes” out of secondary airports such as Long Beach.
Neeleman has had a string of successful airline startups. He co-founded Morris Air in 1984, which was acquired by Southwest Airlines for $130 million in 1993. And while also CEO of an airline reservation and check-in-systems company, Neeleman co-founded Canada-based WestJet Airlines.
Since JetBlue, Neeleman co-founded Azul, a domestic carrier in Brazil established in 2013. Breeze was first announced in 2018 with the tentative name Moxy Airways. Its first flight took off in spring of last year.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comment from the airport director and to indicate when Breeze service will begin.