Schumer Tries To Lure New Low-cost Airline to Syracuse Airport

March 3, 2022

Washington – U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is leading a push to attract Breeze Airways to Syracuse, a new low-cost airline that began operating less than a year ago in underserved markets.

Schumer, D- N.Y., said he met in person with Breeze Airways CEO David Neeleman two weeks ago and urged him to expand the fast-growing airline to Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport.

Syracuse would become the first city in Upstate New York and only the second in the state to be served by Breeze Airways.

The airline launched in May 2021 with the goal of providing non-stop service between underserved U.S. cities at affordable fares. As of today, Breeze serves 18 cities including New Orleans, Tampa and West Palm Beach, Fla.

The airline began serving Long Island last month when it launched its inaugural flights from MacArthur Airport in the town of Islip.

Breeze Airways will initially offer service to Charleston, S.C., Norfolk, Va. and New Orleans from the Long Island airport. One-way fares start at $39. The airline does not charge fees for changing or canceling a flight.

Breeze Airways recently announced that it ordered 80 new Airbus passenger jets that will be delivered between the middle of this year and 2028. The A220-300 aircraft are full-sized jets that include 36 first-class seats.

Neeleman, the airline’s founder and CEO, is an aviation entrepreneur who started JetBlue Airways and four other commercial airlines.

In 2001, Schumer convinced Neeleman to bring JetBlue to Syracuse, making it the first discount airline at the airport. JetBlue uses Kennedy Airport in New York City as a hub for service to other cities.

Neeleman’s new airline, Breeze Airways, has found a different niche. Rather than using hubs, the airline offers non-stop service between cities that haven’t been directly connected by other airlines.

Schumer said the airline would offer Syracuse travelers new service to routes in the Southeast that don’t currently have non-stop service.

In his pitch to Neeleman, Schumer said, he emphasized that Central New York business leaders are transforming the region into a tech hub focused on drones and smart systems.

Onondaga County is also competing to land a semiconductor chip manufacturing plant that would create up to 5,000 jobs.

“Now as Central New York’s economy continues to recover and the prospects of its cutting-edge tech industry soar, there is no better time for Breeze Airways to establish its presence in Upstate New York by landing in Syracuse,” Schumer said.

Jason Terreri, the airport’s executive director, told syracuse.com | The Post-Standard today that his team has been meeting with Breeze Airways for several months in an effort to lure the airline to Syracuse.

Terreri declined to provide additional details about the talks.

Schumer said he touted the Syracuse airport’s increasing passenger traffic and success at attracting other new airlines in his meeting with Neeleman.

Three other low-cost airlines have started serving Syracuse since 2015. Southwest Airlines launched its inaugural service from Syracuse in November, capping more than 20 years of efforts by Schumer and local leaders to bring the airline to Hancock Airport.

Ultra-low-cost Allegiant Air began serving Syracuse in 2015 and Frontier Airlines followed in 2018.

With new competition, Syracuse landed in second place on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s list of cities with fastest falling airfares in 2018.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, traffic at Syracuse’s airport soared to its highest level in three decades. More people flew in and out of Hancock Airport in 2019 – 2.5 million – than at any time since 1990.

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