HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s a new airline coming to town, just in time for Connecticut residents to fly about this summer.
This Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. Many are looking to get away and book that trip they’ve been itching to take. Two new airlines are making that easier than ever.
Kevin Dillon, the Executive Director of the CT Airport Authority said, “Their low-cost model and already strong reputation make it a key addition and valuable new option for our passenger base…They’re trying to bring low fares to underserved markets so it’s a really exciting business profile and we’re thrilled to be part of it.”
It’s called Breeze. Based in Salt Lake City, its focus is nonstop service to places people want to be at a fraction of the price.
The inaugural flight took off from Windsor Locks to Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday.
“Breeze Airlines is being founded by David Neeleman, who is the founder of Jet Blue Airlines, so we have every confidence that this is going to be a very, very successful endeavor,” said Dillion.
Neeleman said, “It’s going to be simple. They’re going to book easy. They’re going to get to the airport. Everything’s going to be easy. Everyone’s going to be kind to them, nice. They’re going to have a great travel experience.”
Breeze will fly nonstop from Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT to Charleston, SC (available now), Columbus, OH (available starting July 22), Norfolk, VA (available starting July 22), and Pittsburgh, PA (available starting July 22). Fares start as low as $39.
“Our flights have been selling really well from Bradley,” said Neeleman. “At this rate, we’ll be adding a lot more destinations soon!”
The announcement adds light at the end of the tunnel for the Connecticut Airport Authority.
Passenger traffic at Bradley was down 97% at the height of the pandemic, but that number currently sits around 40% with more people taking to the skies. But Dillon says traffic is still 50 percent from pre-pandemic. Dillon credits the increased demand in air travel to vaccines and the drop in infection rates.
“I think people are feeling more and more comfortable about traveling and we are expecting a very healthy summer,” said Dillion.
Passengers at Bradley told us Thursday they are very excited to travel as things start to open pack up ‘post-pandemic.’
That service to Charleston will start first on May 27. The other flights will begin in mid-July. Bradley is also adding nonstop service Minneapolis with sun country airlines.
Dillon adds other airlines at Bradley are also adding more flights this summer: “JetBlue added for additional cities, L.A., San Francisco, Cancun, and Las Vegas. Southwest added Nashville service, so what we’re hoping is that we will resume a lot of the nonstops that were suspended.”
Over in New Haven, Avelo Airlines – another low-cost start-up airline – recently announced Tweed-New Haven Airport as its east coast hub.
Sean Scanlon, the Executive Director of Tweed New Haven Airport said, “We’re seeing even more and more people willing to get back on that plane…It’s going to be eight flights a day starting this summer to various destinations to places people have said they always wanted to go, like the southeast United States — places like Florida — are definitely going to be on the table.”
Scanlon says the new options are game-changers.
“It’s a little nicer of an experience than the low-cost carriers you’ve heard of, ” he said. “So, you can get to where you need to go for very cheap.”
Those destinations are expected to be announced soon.