Might Green play role in JetBlue founder's dream for new airline?

Warwick Beacon ·

You can’t buy tickets on Moxy Airlines…well, not yet anyway…because the airline isn’t up and running. It’s a dream.

However, according to an independent publication covering the airline industry –Airline Weekly– not only would the airline offer highly competitive fares but also it is likely to choose Green Airport as a major base of operations in the Northeast.

The Airline Weekly story that appeared in the June 18 edition bases its report on two unnamed sources and a presentation made by David Neeleman that it had gained access to. Neeleman founded JetBlue in 2000. Neeleman had a role in creating Canada’s WestJet and, after leaving, JetBlue founded Brazil’s Azul. According to Airline Weekly, he is essentially in charge of TAP Air Portugal and making that another success story.

Is he coming back to this country and, of more interest to Rhode Islanders, how does Green Airport fit into his plans?

Rhode Island Airport Corporation president and CEO Iftikhar Ahmad referred inquiries to Linda Hughes, his newly appointed director of marketing and public information.

“At this point it’s still his [Neeleman’s] dream,” said Hughes.

She said Airline Weekly did not contact RIAC regarding the story, although she was pleased that Green is mentioned.

“We take all the positive attention we can get,” she said.

In a follow-up email, Ahmad wrote, “We welcome all airlines to connect the 7.4 million people in our 90 minutes drive time to other destinations. Moxy would be a good fit here at PVD. David Neeleman knows he will be successful here.”

From the Airline Weekly report there’s more to Moxy than wishful thinking. According to the story, Neeleman is armed with $100 million in startup capital and Moxy has secured orders for 60 CS300 jets with plans for the first deliveries in 2020 and all 60 by 2024. The CS300 is made by Canadian manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace, has seating for a maximum of 160 and a range of about 3,800 miles.

Based on the presentation on which Airline Weekly bases its report, Moxy sees opportunity in smaller airports because of their convenience, accessibility and the congestion of mega-hub airports.

“Moxy seems keen on secondary airports in the country’s biggest metro areas like Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Providence, outside Boston, features prominently as an example in Moxy’s presentation,” reads the story.

Point-to-point prospective destinations include Orlando, Sanford and St. Petersburg in Florida; Oakland, San Jose, Contra Costa, Orange County, Burbank, Ontario and McClellan-Palomar in California, Phoenix Mesa, Rocky Mountain outside Denver, Concord near Charlotte, Fort Worth’s Meacham Airport and Burke Lake front Airport in Cleveland.

The presentation argues that in the past four years U.S. airlines earned $72 billion in profits and, while down a bit in the past two years, remain near record highs.

“With big hubs getting more crowded, Moxy says journeys are becoming less comfortable and more time consuming,” the story continues. “Its promise? To ‘get you there twice as fast for half the price.’”

What of the competition?

Airline Weekly notes the possible vulnerability of the Florida markets in this region for JetBlue, Allegiant and Southwest, but concludes it would be years before Moxy even accounts for 1 percent of domestic U.S. capacity.

The article also raises the specter that Neeleman’s dependence on smaller airports could be flawed, observing that Southwest, which is still Green’s largest carrier, slashed its flights here, while increasing service at Boston’s Logan.

While the story mentions that most of the smaller airports Moxy would serve don’t offer international service, it doesn’t make mention of the international destinations Ahmad has brought to Green since coming here. That could make for added benefit for Neeleman and help make dreams come true.

This story was originally posted by Warwick Beacon. Click here to view the original story in its entirety.

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