Breeze beefs up presence in Florida and New York with new winter route

Breeze Airways is adding a new route from Long Island, New York.

The low-cost carrier plans to fly a twice-weekly, seasonal route from Islip’s Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP) to its new and fast-growing base at Vero Beach Regional Airport (VRB) in Florida. Service from ISP — about 50 miles east of New York City — will start Dec. 21 and operate through April 28, 2024.

Vero Beach is one of Breeze’s newer destinations and an unconventional one that fits the carrier’s strategy of focusing on airports with limited service.

Sitting on Florida’s central Atlantic coast, Vero Beach is not a typical gateway for flyers to Florida. The airport had no commercial service at all when Breeze began flying there earlier this year, but the carrier appears to see potential in the airport. After all, it’s located between two of the state’s most popular draws: Orlando is about 100 miles to the northwest, and the coastline that stretches from Palm Beach to Miami is about 100 miles to the south.

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Breeze launched its Vero Beach service in February, with flights from New York’s Westchester County Airport (HPN) — about 35 miles north of midtown Manhattan — and Bradley International Airport (BDL) near Hartford, Connecticut. Flights from Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport (PVD) in Providence begin Nov. 2 — giving Breeze a total of four nonstop destinations from Vero Beach.

The addition of the ISP-to-VRB route comes about two weeks after the carrier announced another expansion that will give Breeze its first destination in Illinois. Those flights — from Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (SPI) in the state capital of Springfield — begin in December with nonstop service to Orlando and Tampa.

Now, with its latest news, Breeze continues its buildup in Florida.

“Vero Beach has been a huge success since we started service in February,” David Neeleman, the founder and CEO of Breeze, said in a statement. “And our Guests have been very vocal about adding the service from Islip too.”

Report from the inaugural flight: What Breeze Airways, the new airline by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, brings to the skies 

Neeleman, who also founded JetBlue and Azul Brazilian Airlines, launched Breeze in 2021 with a business model similar to Allegiant Air and Avelo Airlines. Breeze focuses on flying nonstop routes between cities that would normally require a connection when flying on bigger rivals.

As Breeze has grown its network domestically during the past two years, Neeleman recently said at the Skift Global Forum in New York City that the carrier is eyeing an international expansion, potentially starting with destinations in Mexico or the Caribbean.

Breeze plans to operate the ISP-to-VRB route with Airbus A220-300 jets — which have a 2-2 configuration and feature recliner-style seats in the carrier’s “Ascent” cabin.

The new Florida service was welcomed in Long Island, as ISP has seen flights decline in the past decade.

A new look: Breeze has a new, more economical Airbus A220 configuration 

VRB will become the sixth destination from ISP, and the new route marks the first time the Long Island airport will have commercial air service to a Florida beach city.

Islip town supervisor Angie Carpenter said the new route will make it easier for Long Island residents to visit Florida year-round.

“Long Islanders love visiting Florida year-round and especially in the winter,” she said in a statement. “These new non-stop flights to Vero Beach will tempt travelers who want to take an easy, hassle-free vacation.”

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