Founder and CEO of Breeze Airways, David Neeleman, is keen to give his newest aircraft type a boost. Having recently taken delivery of its first A220-300, Breeze is in conversation with Airbus to add to its range to open up new city pairs. Neeleman is eyeing the auxiliary fuel tank technology in development for the ACJ TwoTwenty as a potential solution for his regional jet’s range.
The A220 could get a range boost with an auxiliary fuel tank. Photo: Airbus
A range boost for the Breeze A220?
The brand-new Breeze Airways A220 has been attracting some attention, with its premium heavy configuration and gleaming blue livery. Although it won’t enter service until sometime next year, founder and CEO of Breeze, David Neeleman, is already thinking about how best to put his huge fleet of regional jets to good use.
Speaking to Simple Flying as part of the Future Flying Forum, Neeleman noted his desire for a range boost on the A220, to open up more opportunities. He said,
“We’re talking to Airbus about maybe putting something on the A220s. They’re developing aux tanks, for the -100 for kind of a private jet. And we’re saying, OK, well, let’s just put one of those on our airplane, which would give us a range of about 4000 miles.”
Airbus has always stated that the ACJ TwoTwenty will be offered with up to five auxiliary fuel tanks, to give it a huge range as a private jet. The ACJ TwoTwenty will reach up to 5,500 NM, giving it more than 12 hours in the air and allowing operators to fly direct to far-flung cities, such as London to LA or Beijing to Melbourne.
The stunning Airbus ACJ TwoTwenty. Photo: Airbus
The published range of the A220-300 has reached up to 3,550 NM since Airbus’ boosted its range in May this year. But Neeleman has long wished for a range of 4,000 NM to give the aircraft the legs to reach hot destinations that are just beyond its current radius. The distance might not sound like much, but that increment puts in range some important destinations and cities for Breeze.
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Where could the A220 fly for Breeze with the additional range?
The range addition would open way more European destinations from the east coast. From Norfolk, for example, most of Italy is opened up, along with parts of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The increased range from Norfolk. Image: GCMaps
To the south, from Tampa, much of Brazil becomes available, and more of Argentina and Chile is within striking distance. Getting down to Brazil would not only be a boon for Breeze, but also for Neeleman’s ‘other’ airline, Azul. Working in partnership with the Brazilian airline would allow multiple connections to secondary cities, opening up the route map in an unprecedented way.
The increased range from Tampa. Image: GCMaps
Interestingly, from the Breeze focus city of New Orleans, Hawaii is suddenly in play with that additional range. At present, there are no direct flights from MSY to any of Hawaii’s islands, which would appeal to the Breeze playbook of finding unserved connections to operate.
The increased range from New Orleans. Image: GCMaps
“That [range] would take us from the Northeast into Europe, to reach several destinations in Europe, and from Florida to almost of all the cities in Brazil and others in central Latin American, and of course to Hawaii. So, you know, there’s a lot of different things we can do when we have that kind of range.”
With a laser-sharp focus on connecting unconnected cities and weeding out those routes with direct demand, having the maximum range on the A220 will give Breeze many more opportunities to find new routes. With the auxiliary tanks being developed for the ACJ TwoTwenty, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see them certified for the A220-300 as well. And with Breeze set to be the world’s largest operator of the type, where better for Airbus to flex its range boosting muscles?