COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC4) – A new Utah-based airline is set to launch next week, serving 16 cities in the Southern and Eastern U.S. It’s the latest venture from the man who started JetBlue 20 years ago.
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“Welcome to Breeze everybody,” CEO David Neeleman says in a promotional video. “Come aboard.”
Breeze Airways is the 5th airline founded by Neeleman, a Deer Valley resident who operates it and JetBlue from offices in Cottonwood Heights. On Friday he told ABC4 what makes Utah the perfect home base.
“I think it’s the attitude of the government towards businesses. We were certainly welcomed with open arms,” Neeleman said. “It’s the high-quality workforce, educated people. It’s diversity of languages and understanding of other cultures, you know from serving missions around the world so there are a lot of things that make Utah unique.”
Now he’s taking Utah values and culture to new heights with Breeze, which he calls “the nicest airline in the world.”
“We’ve got values that we live by every day,” Neeleman said. “You know I really love being the nicest airline because it sets an expectation for all of our people. OK, come to work for us but you’re coming to work for the nicest airline, so you’d better be nice. And that’s our culture so if they’re nice, our customers will sense it and they’ll be nice.”
Breeze will eventually employee hundreds of Utahns at their headquarters and they’re starting with a fleet of 13 Embraer aircraft, with plans to add 60 Airbus A220s but Neeleman tells me there’s one particular Jet he’s especially eager to see take off: his nephew and number two overall NFL draft pick Zach Wilson.
“Excited to see Zach play and we’re going to try to get to as many of his games as possible,” Neeleman said. “JetBlue, who I also founded the company, is the exclusive sponsor of the New York Jets so you know we got Zach flying on JetBlue…His father is actually an investor in Breeze so we’re all in the family here.”
The first Breeze flights take off next Thursday from Tampa, Florida; Hartford, Connecticut and Charleston, South Carolina with tickets as low as $39 dollars.
Neeleman tells ABC4 we could see flights in and out of Salt Lake City as soon as sometime next year.