Breeze Airways (MX, Salt Lake City) plans to continue operating a dual-manufacturer fleet in the future with both the E190/E195s and the A220-300s serving different types of routes, founder David Neeleman said during the virtual World Aviation Festival.

The start-up is "at the tail end" of its certification process and expects to launch during the Summer 2021 season. Initially, it will operate only the Embraer aircraft, as the first A220-300 is scheduled for delivery in October 2021, with service entry slated for late 2021 or early 2022.

While the carrier's network remains a mystery, Neeleman reaffirmed that Breeze Airways would focus on thinner, underserved markets. He revealed that around 80% of the start-up's operations would be on currently unserved routes. The network will be geared towards the leisure market following the COVID-induced market realignment.

Breeze has secured a fleet of seventeen Embraers for its initial ramp-up phase. It will lease fifteen E190s from Nordic Aviation Capital, while two E195s are owned by Elevate Capital Partners and sub-leased via Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras, another of Neeleman's business ventures. So far, one E190 and the two E195s have been delivered.

Neeleman underlined that while traditionally, "the Achilles heel [of the Embraers] has always been ownership and maintenance cost," these costs have now plummeted by 70%. He also indicated that the relatively large fleet of E190/E195s used in the early stages would reduce maintenance costs down the line, as surplus aircraft will be available for part-out to support the units remaining in active service.

Breeze will use the Embraer regional jets predominantly on shorter, one- to two-hour sectors. In turn, Breeze Airways plans to use the A220s on longer routes as a lower cost-per-trip alternative to A321-200NX(LR)s. Neeleman stressed that despite the newer type's higher capital costs, its fuel burn would be lower than that of the E190/E195s, even though the A220 is a larger aircraft.

Breeze Airways has sixty A220-300s on firm order from Airbus.

Neeleman is continuing to lobby Airbus to offer auxiliary fuel tanks as an option on the A220s, which would increase their range by some 600 nautical miles (1,110 kilometres) to around 4,000 nautical miles (7,410 kilometres), thus expanding the list of potential routes they can serve. Breeze Airways is also contemplating using the A220s on services to Europe and South America. The latter, Neeleman hinted, could be operated in partnership with Azul, which would make flights to secondary cities more viable.