This New Low-Cost Airline Just Became the Best-Funded Startup in U.S. Aviation

Not bad for an airline that’s only three months old

Breeze Airways

Courtesy of Breeze Airways

As we mentioned back in March when we announced the launch of Breeze Airways, the new low-cost U.S. airline from JetBlue and WestJet founder David Neeleman, we love rooting for the underdog.

If we’d have placed an actual bet on the success of Breeze Airways, we’d be flying high in riches. Thanks to a recent $200-million-dollar Series B investment, the little airline that could just became the best-funded airline startup in U.S. history. That makes for a total of over $300 million in capital raised within three months of launch—or an average of $100 million per month of its existence.

Neeleman, who functions as Breeze Airways’ CEO and chairman of the board, said the company was “humbled” by the superlative and is “excited about the growth it will fuel” for its expansion plans.

“Welcoming funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and Knighthead, and additional from our existing investors further validates our business strategy,” Neeleman said in a statement.

Breeze Airways has made waves by offering low fares and convenient connections between smaller cities that usually require passengers to connect through a major airport hub. The company filled a gaping hole in airline routing—95 percent of Breeze’s inaugural 39 routes were devoid of year-round, nonstop service. Finally, travelers can get from Point A to Point B without having to make a pit stop at Point C or pay a fortune.

Currently, the airline operates 13 all-coach Embraer aircraft, with most flights clocking in at under two hours from point to point. “Breeze’s use of right-sized and efficient aircraft to offer new non-stop service between smaller U.S. cities constitutes a true competitive advantage and delivers a better experience for travelers whose only current options are connecting flights,” said Adam Zirkin, a partner at Knighthead Capital Management, LLC.

“Moreover, the airline’s unique use of technology allows for better service at lower cost, eliminating the missed connections, delays, and long customer service hold times that are such an unfortunate part of air travel as we know it.”

Now, with oodles of cash, the airline says it has ordered 60 new Airbus A220 aircraft, which will arrive starting this October at an average rate of about one per month over the next five years. These larger aircraft will be used to keep things comfy on all Breeze flights over two hours.

Half the time for half the price and hassle? Yes, please! Where have you been all our lives?

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