For the second time in a week, a fast-growing discount airline has announced new flights from Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Breeze Airways says it will begin flying nonstop from RDU to Hartford, New Orleans and Providence starting in mid-February. They will be Breeze’s first flights from the Triangle, making it the 14th airline doing business at RDU.
Currently no other airline is flying nonstop between RDU and those three cities, though Southwest Airlines is scheduled to begin flying to New Orleans in January.
“Breeze always looks for underserved routes where we can add nonstop flights, low fares and our brand of Seriously Nice service,” Tom Doxey, the company’s president, said in a written statement. “We’re thrilled to announce service from Raleigh-Durham, our 35th city, to three of our bases in Hartford, New Orleans and Providence.”
The flights will not be daily. Breeze will fly to New Orleans on Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday; to Hartford on Thursday and Sunday; and to Providence on Monday and Friday.
The Breeze news comes days after another start-up airline, Avelo, announced six new nonstop flights from RDU to Florida and said it would make the Triangle a base airport, creating about 50 jobs. Like Breeze, Avelo also looks to fly to underserved markets and made its RDU debut in May, flying between the Triangle and Tweed-New Haven Airport in Connecticut, where the airline got its start.
Avelo and Breeze began flying in the spring of 2021, and both were started by industry veterans. Avelo’s founder, Andrew Levy, also co-founded Allegiant Air, another low-cost carrier, and was chief financial officer at United Airlines.
Meanwhile, Breeze is the fifth airline that David Neeleman has started since the 1980s. They include Morris Air, which was bought and absorbed by Southwest, as well as JetBlue, WestJet of Canada and Azul Brazilian Airlines.
The desire of first Levy and now Neeleman to bring their start-up airlines to RDU is a good sign, said Michael Landguth, the airport’s president and CEO.
“He’s started four different airlines that are all successful and all still running today,” Landguth said. “So when you have somebody like those two individuals show up on your doorstep in a community like ours, that sends a real clear message to me that they feel good about what this looks like and they see opportunities.”
Breeze will operate out of Terminal 2, Landguth said, while Avelo will move to Terminal 1 in February, joining Southwest and Spirit.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Bahamasair, the national airline of The Bahamas, will begin twice-weekly flights between RDU and Freeport, the main city on Grand Bahama island. The Bahamas become the seventh international destination from RDU, after London, Paris, Toronto, Montreal, Cancun and Reykjavik.