Breeze sets spring launch for inaugural West Coast flights from T.F. Green

BREEZE AIRWAYS will launch the first West Coast flights out of Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport in the spring. Pictured is Breeze Airways founder David Neeleman. /CEANORRETT VIA AP

PROVIDENCE – The long-awaited inaugural flights between Rhode Island and the West Coast are finally preparing for takeoff, with Breeze Airways launching routes to two California destinations in the spring.

The budget airline on Wednesday announced the 2023 launch or return dates for six routes out of Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport, on top of the five routes already offered. Among the new routes are Rhode Island’s first West Coast destinations: a nonstop route to Los Angeles starting in May and a “BreezeThru service” single-stop route to Orange County, California beginning in March. The Los Angeles flight was originally slated to begin in June 2022, but its debut was postponed amid staffing shortages and supply chain problems, PBN reported previously. 

New routes to Cincinnati and Tampa are also being added in March and May, respectively. 

An existing, seasonal route to Columbus, Ohio, which was also put on hold due to economic headwinds is among those returning in 2023, slated to start in March. A seasonal route to Jacksonville, Fla., will come back in May.

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The expansion comes as Breeze continues to put down roots in Rhode Island, with plans to establish a permanent base at T.F. Green in 2023, featuring at least 20 routes, room to house six to eight aircrafts and 250 jobs. 

“We are thrilled that Breeze has continued to enhance its service to Rhode Island,” Iftikhar Ahmad, CEO and president of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. “We’re proud to partner with Breeze Airways to offer additional options for travelers, including a total of at least 30 weekly flights from Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport next summer.”

Green’s roster of airlines and routes has been in flux recently, with Frontier Airlines announcing last month that it was leaving Rhode Island in April. The Colorado-based budget airline had offered nonstop routes to four destinations, including Tampa which will now be offered by Breeze. At the same time, a Caribbean airline, Sky High Aviation Services Dominicana, is bringing seasonal charter flights to the Dominican Republic starting Dec. 12.

Recent passenger data shows the airport is exceeding its expectations, with the 1.2 million passengers from July to October about 17% above its internal forecasts, according to John Goodman, as spokesperson for R.I. Airport Corp. While passenger volume for this time period  is still below pre-pandemic travel – at 83% of 2019 numbers – R.I. Airport Corp. expects to exceed pre-pandemic figures “in the near future” thanks to Breeze’s expansion, Goodman said in an email.

Breeze is also offering discounts on flights to Cincinnati if bought by Dec. 13, with fares starting at $59 one-way, according to the airline. Breeze entered Rhode Island in 2021, beginning with three destinations, and now offers flights to five locations: Charleston, South Carolina; New Orleans; Norfolk, Virginia; and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. 

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. Contact her at Lavin@PBN.com.

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