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eandslee

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28 minutes ago, benstyree said:

Are you just looking at the available seats on the flight?  If so, I think Breeze is doing a lot of the seat-assigned-at-checkin thing that ULCCs often do, so it may be better than it looks...maybe?

Oh absolutely…you are right. I’ll know better tomorrow just before the flight when a lot of the seat assignments are made. By comparison though, the inaugural flight to TPA has most of its seats assigned already (a strong sign of good ridership).  I know my “indicator” of ridership is unscientific, but it does give a good general idea. 

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Posted (edited)

Regarding Breeze Airways' inaugural flight today from RIC to CHS, the RTD did a story and here are some very encouraging excerpts:

Quote

Breeze Airways’ inaugural flight from Richmond International Airport hadn’t departed yet on Thursday morning, but the co-founder of the new low-cost airline is already talking about wanting to expand service from the region.

“This is just the beginning,” Trey Urbahn said about two hours before Breeze’s nonstop flight departed for Charleston, S.C.

Salt Lake City-based Breeze also has nonstop flights scheduled from Richmond to two other markets — to New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport, starting next Thursday, and to Tampa International Airport in Florida, starting July 22. The airline offers the services on four days — Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays.

Richmond International Airport is one of 16 airports selected for the inaugural network of Breeze, joining markets including Norfolk; Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn.; Huntsville, Ala.; Pittsburgh and San Antonio. The airline began flying to select markets in late May.

Breeze, Urbahn said, is looking at expanding service from Richmond to one of its current markets or to new markets — possibly to the West Coast when it gets bigger planes that the airline plans to add later this year.

“Ninety-five percent of the routes that we fly, we have no nonstop competition. So basically we go into markets that are really too small to support the kinds of larger airplanes that most of our competitors fly,” said Urbahn, a former JetBlue executive who serves on the Breeze board and as an adviser to the airline’s CEO...
 
...“It’s early and it’s just preliminary indications, but bookings to New Orleans and Tampa are really super strong out of Richmond. Most of these routes will be flying north of a 70% load factor,” he said.
 

Of note, today, 15 people flew into RIC from CHS.  On the departing flight out of RIC, 30 people flew to CHS.  These are very small numbers for an aircraft that typically carries between 108 and 120 passengers, but this appears to be Breeze's game plan.  They are looking to build up demand rather than go for the sure thing (routes that are super high in demand already) from the airports they serve.  I personally think this is very risky, but at least they are looking to try to see what demand certain routes can generate.  You can only fly routes with an empty plane so much before you have to stop the route altogether.  I foresee many of Breeze's routes ending after a few months if they're not generating income.  They will, for sure, have to do some tweaking with their routes in the near future.  I just hope that means more routes to and from RIC.  They are hoping to expand at RIC, but they probably say that for all airports they serve.  Richmond just has to prove that it can generate the business they want and need to expand service.  I wouldn't be surprised that after they start getting their new A-220 aircraft delivered in October (one per month for a total of 60 aircraft), Richmond could see a flight on Breeze nonstop to SFO, perhaps even SEA, PHX, SAN, SLC (those were my first thoughts when I read the quote about west coast destinations from RIC).  Breeze could very well be a game-changer for RIC travelers!

Edited by eandslee
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44 minutes ago, eandslee said:

I wouldn't be surprised that after they start getting their new A-220 aircraft delivered in October (one per month for a total of 60 aircraft), Richmond could see a flight on Breeze nonstop to SFO, perhaps even SEA, PHX, SAN, SLC (those were my first thoughts when I read the quote about west coast destinations from RIC).  Breeze could very well be a game-changer for RIC travelers!

Great info on Breeze and on the Charleston flights. You make a good point - not only about how Breeze may/will be sifting out profitable routes, but how that could impact RIC. Good take on what might happen once they take delivery of a A-220s - and if your speculation about western routes bears out, any of the five destinations you listed would be a real plus for RIC. I would suspect that if RIC gets one, does well with it and is able to keep it, it will get at least one or more of those other routes. Things do look bright in the future for RIC, at least at this point.

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Posted (edited)

Lots of talk lately about possible international flights starting on Breeze Airways.  In addition to the article above (thanks @Merrick), this article focuses on destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America!  Possibilities include nonstop flights from Richmond and Norfolk to places like Cancun, Montego Bay, Nassau Bahamas...at least from this article's point of view.  Very interesting indeed.  Hope Richmond International is indeed in contention to get some of these flights!  Check it out:

https://simpleflying.com/breeze-airways-international-flights/

Edited by eandslee
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1 hour ago, eandslee said:

Lots of talk lately about possible international flights starting on Breeze Airways.  In addition to the article above (thanks @Merrick), this article focuses on destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America!  Possibilities include nonstop flights from Richmond and Norfolk to places like Cancun, Montego Bay, Nassau Bahamas...at least from this article's point of view.  Very interesting indeed.  Hope Richmond International is indeed in contention to get some of these flights!  Check it out:

https://simpleflying.com/breeze-airways-international-flights/

Richmond and Norfolk would both need immigration and customs checkpoints to accommodate direct international flights. In airports that do have them, they are massive multi-story areas seen and unseen by passengers.  I don’t see how Richmond or Norfolk could accommodate this with their current layouts. Maybe Richmond’s master plan’s third terminal expansion is something on the horizon that would push this idea forward? 

As a side note, I’ve always been miffed by the “international” label airports can have that don’t actually serve international destinations directly.

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1 hour ago, vaceltic said:

Richmond and Norfolk would both need immigration and customs checkpoints to accommodate direct international flights. In airports that do have them, they are massive multi-story areas seen and unseen by passengers.  I don’t see how Richmond or Norfolk could accommodate this with their current layouts. Maybe Richmond’s master plan’s third terminal expansion is something on the horizon that would push this idea forward? 

As a side note, I’ve always been miffed by the “international” label airports can have that don’t actually serve international destinations directly.

Actually, RIC can handle international flights and passengers.  I’m not exactly sure how that is done, but I know there is a way.  Perhaps our friend @flack4ric can elaborate.  
 

I don’t think there is a dedicated terminal for international flights, but there might be a dedicated gate and area that RIC uses for international flights. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago when RIC served nonstop service to and from Toronto on Air Canada.  Also, I can remember some flights to and from the Bahamas (if I’m not mistaken) and I think even some flights to Cancun existed before (can’t remember if they were done regularly though).  So, processing international passengers is not something new to RIC…though, admittedly, it’s isn’t done very often anymore.  Hopefully, Breeze can revive that process again at RIC and do it on a daily basis!

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1 hour ago, eandslee said:

Actually, RIC can handle international flights and passengers.  I’m not exactly sure how that is done, but I know there is a way.  Perhaps our friend @flack4ric can elaborate.  
 

I don’t think there is a dedicated terminal for international flights, but there might be a dedicated gate and area that RIC uses for international flights. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago when RIC served nonstop service to and from Toronto on Air Canada.  Also, I can remember some flights to and from the Bahamas (if I’m not mistaken) and I think even some flights to Cancun existed before (can’t remember if they were done regularly though).  So, processing international passengers is not something new to RIC…though, admittedly, it’s isn’t done very often anymore.  Hopefully, Breeze can revive that process again at RIC and do it on a daily basis!

There appears to be a lower Customs arrival space between Gates B6 and B10.  Club Level Grill wraps behind the escalator.   I assume this is an underutilized B8 for serving the adjacent gates via air-stairs?

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3 hours ago, eandslee said:

Actually, RIC can handle international flights and passengers.  I’m not exactly sure how that is done, but I know there is a way.  Perhaps our friend @flack4ric can elaborate.  
 

I don’t think there is a dedicated terminal for international flights, but there might be a dedicated gate and area that RIC uses for international flights. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago when RIC served nonstop service to and from Toronto on Air Canada.  Also, I can remember some flights to and from the Bahamas (if I’m not mistaken) and I think even some flights to Cancun existed before (can’t remember if they were done regularly though).  So, processing international passengers is not something new to RIC…though, admittedly, it’s isn’t done very often anymore.  Hopefully, Breeze can revive that process again at RIC and do it on a daily basis!

Yep - RIC had flights to the Bahamas, Toronto - I don't recall Cancun but that sounds right, too. So what icetera said regarding a lower customs area in B concourse makes sense. Here's hoping Breeze comes through and starts plugging in some international destinations to RIC's flight schedule.

Oh - and to your point, I believe the Bahamas/Cancun routes were seasonal. I'm not sure about Toronto. Wow -even to have a regular Toronto route up and running would be a great start & hopefully the catalyst for a LOT more.

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Toronto-Pearson is handful of Canadian airports which are pre-cleared hence arriving passengers do not need to go through customers when arriving into the United States.  Customs information is confirmed at the departing facility.  There are other facilities around the world which are pre-cleared to the U.S. as well.

Edited by Shakman
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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Shakman said:

Toronto-Pearson is handful of Canadian airports which are pre-cleared hence arriving passengers do not need to go through customers when arriving into the United States.  Customs information is confirmed at the departing facility.  There are other facilities around the world which are pre-cleared to the U.S. as well.

I had a feeling that was the case for Toronto, but I also knew that RIC had previously processed passengers from the Bahamas and Cancun, which won't pre-clear passengers.

Edited by eandslee
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Posted (edited)

A quick airport update:

Today Breeze Airways begins its RIC-TPA route.  This route’s first flight looks fairly full with only 11 seats left unassigned when I just checked.  Most/all of those seats will likely be assigned at the gate. So this is a good sign for this route. It appears the Richmond market loves the Tampa/St. Pete area of Florida as there are many flights from RIC to that area. 
 

The RIC-MSY route started last week with what appeared to be fairly strong load factors. It looks like this week, the load factors look even better than last week. 
 

As for the RIC-CHS route…well, it never looked good and the good news is that it hasn’t gone away completely…yet.  However, Breeze has cut the flight frequency in half at RIC from 4x/week to only 2x/week.  We’ll see how long this route even lasts.  Other markets were affected too, so RIC wasn’t the only market where flights were reduced in and out of CHS. Oddly enough, CHS was chosen as one of Breeze’s bases/hubs.  I’m not sure that was a good decision.  Nothing against Charleston (nice city), but really?  It’s a small southern city with charm, but an airline hub?  Not so sure. 

Edited by eandslee
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As mentioned earlier, Breeze Airways reduced its frequency of flights between RIC and CHS to 2 times a week, down from 4 (the other routes to MSY and TPA did not change), but this was not the only change the airline made.  Here is an article that sums up all of Breeze Airways' changes...most of them, not surprising.  Even Norfolk got a bit hammered:

https://thepointsguy.com/news/breeze-airways-route-frequency-reductions/?utm_campaign=facebook&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=7C7A4442-EB36-11EB-B13B-7504933C408C&utm_term=Editorial&fbclid=IwAR3FJXZvPcyep9JQkHE7AMKmIUDjuXaQOUbek4pX5QAl_bwya7M7mBfPjtk

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  • 4 weeks later...

I really hope the demand for Breeze continues to increase and they can increase their flights.  I have a trip to NOLA and would have loved to go with them, but the days and flights just did not line up so I had to go with Delta & a layover in Atlanta.  

Edited by RiverYuppy
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21 minutes ago, RiverYuppy said:

I really hope the demand for Breeze continues to increase and they can increase their flights.  I have a trip to NOLA and would have loved to go with them, but the days and flights just did not line up so I had to go with Delta & a layover in Atlanta.  

As an avid mountain biker, I can definitely tell you the biking community will be happy to see more flights out there. Let's just hope they don't charge too much for bike shipping. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
6 hours ago, eandslee said:

The airport passenger numbers increased again in July 2021.  July saw 355,268 passengers compared to 117,673 in 2020 (a 202% increase) and 386, 931 in 2019.  Hopefully, August passenger numbers keep the trend upward and that the delta variant did not affect August passenger numbers negatively.  After a quick look at some of the new flights on Breeze Airways and our transcontinental flights on JetBlue, the passenger numbers look steady on Breeze and strong on JetBlue.  No new flight service this past month, but no discontinued service this past month either.  I did see an aircraft downgrade on American Airlines, service from Miami to RIC (the late flight) is now an Emb-175 instead of an A-319 (which was flying that route for several months).  

 

image.png.7f22aa6998660021178f08e305f488bc.png

Maybe I'm too particular but that is the worst way to represent time on the x-axis that I've ever seen....

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https://www.google.com/amp/s/richmond.com/community/mechanicsville-local/news/airport-traffic-on-the-rebound/article_bbcfd09c-10b3-11ec-a278-3302d64e7b7f.amp.html
 

just wanted to post this here if anyone didn’t see it when I posted it in the off topic Richmond thread. Meant to post it here to begin with. Looks like the customs area is getting ready for a renovation which may lead to international flights for us.

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