At Richmond International Airport on Wednesday, roughly 100 passengers waited to board Breeze Airways’ fully booked nonstop flight to San Francisco.
This is the first time Richmond has had a direct Breeze flight to San Francisco, which began running in late May and will run on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The flight is one of five new nonstop flights that Breeze is adding in Richmond this year.
According to Breeze Airways CEO David Neeleman, providing nonstop flights is a key strategy for Breeze Airways that allows them to corner a market.
“We see a trend in the United States, and I think it’s pretty evident in this airport as well, the majority of flights all fly to a hub,” Neeleman said. “So if you really want to go to somewhere out of Richmond, unless you are going to Florida, you have fly through either Charlotte or Chicago or Dallas or Atlanta to be able to go anywhere.
“So we just picked cities from Richmond that have a lot of people traveling.”
Breeze Airways was co-founded by Neeleman, who previously founded JetBlue as well as Brazil’s Azul, Canada’s WestJet and Utah-based Morris Air.
Neeleman says Breeze aims to get people to their destinations “twice as fast for half the price.”
To celebrate the new flight route, Neeleman passed out snacks and water to passengers, and the plane went through a ceremonial water arch before taking off.
On Thursday, the first flight from Richmond to Las Vegas will depart, becoming the eighth nonstop flight from Breeze. The low-cost airline now offers nine nonstop flights from Richmond. The other existing nonstop flights are Providence, R.I.; Hartford, Conn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Charleston, S.C.; New Orleans; and Tampa and West Palm Beach, Fla…