Breeze Airways, the start-up airline created by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, has cleared a huge hurdle.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has given its approval to the budget carrier to operate by granting Breeze what is known as a "certificate of public convenience and necessity.”
According to Fox Business News, that will allow the airline to carry passengers, freight and mail for interstate travel on up to 22 aircraft for up to one year.
In December, Neeleman announced he had secured an additional $83 million in financing ahead of its launch, giving him more than $100 million – “more than adequate balance sheet strength to launch its new operations," the company said in a regulatory filing.
The new airline’s strategy will be to connect city pairs that are under-served by major airlines, particularly those that have lost nonstop service due to airline consolidation over the past decade-plus.
Breeze will be based out of Salt Lake City.
"Many of these destinations are secondary leisure markets that have favorable costs for value-conscious travelers or second homeowners," the company wrote in its application to the DOT. "These markets in many cases support once a day service or service a select few days of the week. Over time the routes will cover the entire country."
According to Breeze's website, the company is hiring for flight attendants, engineers and maintenance technicians. Neeleman has vowed Breeze will be “the world’s nicest airline.”