By ARDEN BASTIA It was clear skies with a chance of "breeze" on Thursday night, as Rhode Island International T.F. Green Airport welcomed the first arrival of the new airline, Breeze Airways. Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, Rhode Island House Speaker K. Joseph
It was clear skies with a chance of “breeze” on Thursday night, as Rhode Island International T.F. Green Airport welcomed the first arrival of the new airline, Breeze Airways.
Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, Rhode Island House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi, Warwick City Council President Steve McAllister, among Rhode Island Airport Corporation members and state leaders, gathered at the gate to welcome Breeze Airways executives and enjoy first flight festivities with travelers embarking to Charleston, South Carolina.
For Warwick residents Steve and Christine Haders, the flights offered to Charleston are a “game changer.”
“We’ve been encouraging all our friends,” Christine said as the couple waited for their flight. “We’ve honestly been dreaming about this day.”
The Haders, who live in Warwick during the summer, relocated to Charleston in 2013 after their retirement. Since then, they’ve been driving back and forth for holidays.
“This takes an eight-hour proposition down to two,” said Steve, who explained that the pair returns to Rhode Island three or four times each winter, save for last year due to the COVID pandemic.
Steve and Christine were just two of about 100 passengers who joined the Breeze Airways celebration as they waited for their flight. Passengers waiting to board received raffle tickets for a grand prize of flight points to use on future travels. Steve also snagged some of the other swag from T.F. Green and Breeze Airways, like a water bottle and a set of postcards welcoming travelers to the state.
Passengers also enjoyed Southern snacks like chicken and waffles, as well as a Del’s Blueberry Lemonade “toast” to the new airline.
“We’re thrilled to be part of Breeze Airways’ inaugural network,” Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) president and CEO Iftikhar Ahmad shared on Thursday. “I’m very excited about what the future holds.”
Following the announced establishment of Breeze Airways, hundreds of mid-size to small airports throughout the nation sought to be included among the new airline’s inaugural airports. Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport is one of just 16 airports in the nation selected by Breeze Airways to be part of the airline debut service, according to a press release from the airport.
“We’ll get you there with half the price in half the time,” said Trey Urbahn, Breeze Airways board member, during the event. “This is a community that deserves links, non-stop, to a lot more places, and that’s what we’re here to do.”
Urbahn shared that the “secret sauce” to Breeze Airways travel is the small size and affordable prices. With just over 100 seats in each plane, Breeze planes are able to travel where others can’t.
“We can fly to places within 1,000 miles and fly places non-stop that our competitors can’t because their planes are too big,” he said.
Upon arrival at T.F. Green, the Breeze Airways flight received a water cannon salute as it taxied down the runway, and a champagne christening from RIAC.
As of today, Breeze currently flies 39 routes to 16 cities, including Tampa, New Orleans, Norfolk, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Louisville, and Hartford. Flights between T.F. Green and Charleston, Norfolk and Pittsburgh are currently available four days a week, on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
According to a press release from the airport, Breeze Airways announced that they would begin operating 13 single-class Embraer aircrafts this summer, “flying routes with an average flight length under two hours.”
The ten E190 jets will be configured to seat 108 guests while the three E195 aircraft will have 118 seats. Guests may choose from fares that include “Nice” regular seating, or “Nicer” seats with extra legroom. Breeze expects to integrate 60 brand new Airbus A220 aircraft over the next several years beginning this fall, allowing the new airline to include longer routes, including possible connections to the U.S. West Coast and Europe.
“Warwick is proud to be a host city for this airline,” Picozzi said. “It’s a gateway to all of Rhode Island. We’ll make sure Breeze fills these airplanes, and we’ll make Warwick a destination.”
The inclusion of Breeze Airways brings T.F. Green Airport to 11 airlines and 25 non-stop routes in 2021, up from 7 airlines and 17 non-stop routes in 2016.
To plan a trip with Breeze, visit www.flybreeze.com or download the Breeze app.