RI lands Breeze Airways base

More than $76 million expected for RI economy

Posted 8/9/22

Rhode Island leaders announced Tuesday the state has landed a bonanza that promises to mean high paying jobs and an annual growth in the Ocean State economy of more than $76 million.

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RI lands Breeze Airways base

More than $76 million expected for RI economy


Rhode Island leaders announced Tuesday the state has landed a bonanza that promises to mean high paying jobs and an annual growth in the Ocean State economy of more than $76 million.

The announcement that Breeze Airways will make T. F. Green International Airport (PVD) a base of operations in 2023, a first of any airline base of operations here, is proof of  the state’s successful bid as a base and the airline’s goal to reach out to new destinations.

“This is it for us for now,” Michael P. Lazarus, Breeze vice president, replied when asked if the company planned additional bases of operation in New England. He said a goal of the airline is to bring non-stop service to airports across the country, saying there are 1,000 airports in the country lacking non-stop service and that Breeze’s fleet of Airbus A-220 could serve. Breeze ordered 80 of the planes, however, there have been hiccups with delivery, dampening the airline’s plans.

The news that Rhode Island will be a base of operations – Lazarus said the airline currently has two or three – was hailed as bringing 250 full-time jobs, including pilots and flight crews, as well as support staff and maintenance personnel to sustain up to a total of 20 nonstop routes.

A “base” is an airport where an airline’s aircraft operate from that location. Airlines conduct regular maintenance checks and repairs at their bases. Bases are also locations where flight crews reside, which increase the potential for additional flight options for consumers and adds more flight options and the benefit of enhanced reliability given the availability of reserve crews and back-up aircraft.

According to a release issued by the governor’s office, over a five-year ramp-up period, Breeze Airways will base six to eight aircrafts here, most of which will be the Airbus A-220, a brand new aircraft with industry-leading fuel efficiency. Breeze will also grow its network at Green from the current eight existing or announced routes to 20 or more routes over the five-year ramp up phase that begins with the opening of the base. Breeze will offer approximately 20 average weekly departures by the end of 2023, reaching 44 weekly departures by 2027, according to a release.

“Today’s announcement continues our state’s economic momentum,” said Governor McKee. “Establishing a base of operations at Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport not only creates more good-paying jobs, but also supports our tourism efforts by bringing in new tourists and visitors to our great state which in turn supports our economy. I want to thank Breeze for choosing Rhode Island. We stand ready to ensure this is a success.”

Legislators played a significant role in enticing Breeze to make Green and Warwick a base. Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey noted passage this year of “destination funding” legislation that provides $10 million over the next three years for airlines to advertise their Rhode Island flights. The aim, House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi explained is for planes returning to Rhode Island have “full seats.”

 “The ease and convenience of flying from PVD perfectly encapsulates our ‘Seriously Nice’ approach to air travel and we’re thrilled to expand our services from Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport in the coming years,” said President of Breeze Airways Tom Doxey.

He called Green “one of our fastest growing cities.”

David Neeleman, founder and CEO of the airline, said Green was being considered as a base of operations when he met with the news media back in May. He emphasized that a base is not a “hub” where arriving passengers make connections to their final destinations. He said the airline was considering a base of four planes. Since then, RIAC president and CEO Iftikhar Ahmad put on a full court press to get the Breeze base.

“For us it’s all about the economy,” Ahmad said prior to introducing Doxey.

He explained that the Breeze aircraft stationed here would stay at the gate overnight or on a taxiway if the space was unavailable. He expects some service would be performed here and should the operation grow there could come a time when Breeze would want to build a hangar.

“Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport is thrilled to become a base of operations for Breeze Airways. The benefits of this wonderful news goes well beyond the airport, and will help create new jobs and new revenues throughout Rhode Island to help grow our local economy for years to come,” Ahmad said.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed along with Shekarchi, McCaffrey, Mayor Frank Picozzi and RIAC Chair Jonathan Savage also made welcoming remarks.

“It’s nice when airlines announce plans to add routes to Rhode Island and it’s even better when they announce plans like this to make the Ocean State a base of operations. It shows the federal investments we’ve made to upgrade the airport are paying real dividends for the state,” said Reed. “As Breeze continues expanding their network, I’m pleased they’ve chosen Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport as a key base. Demand from air travelers is returning and the airport’s capacity for growth is positioned for takeoff.”

Mayor Picozzi spoke of his efforts and those of the state to upgrade Post Road in the vicinity of the airport. He also talked of plans for an apartment complex and new hotel near the airport.

According to Appleseed, a third-party economic impact analysis firm, the economic impact from this Qualified Jobs project would be an estimated increase in annual state GDP of $76.23 million in 2026 and a gross increase of approximately $5.93 million in personal income, sales and business tax revenues during the twelve-year commitment period beginning in 2023.

Breeze, airport


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