Breeze Airways, David Neeleman’s new carrier, has remade its plans to debut in the U.S. aviation market. Faced with the outbreak of COVID-19, the low-cost airline decided to delay the start of commercial operation to 2021, now scheduled for May.

Last week, a company statement announced that Breeze has reached a purchase agreement for Compass Airlines, a regional airline based in Minneapolis, and that it will cease its activities in April. Neeleman’s intention is to obtain the operation certificate from the US Department of Transportation, a time-consuming process when it starts from scratch.

If it gets approval from US regulatory authorities, Breeze is due to debut charter flights in October from Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport on routes within the country, thus avoiding coastal cities. Six months later, in May, scheduled flights would begin.

To compose its initial fleet of aircraft, Breeze axed a contract to count on 28 E195 jets today operated by Azul Linhas Aereas, an airline also belonging to Neeleman. Instead of these planes, low-cost is closing a leasing agreement with Nordic Aviation Capital for Embraer’s 15 units.

According to Breeze, “The reduction of aircraft used in air transportation due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a favorable aircraft leasing market,” which made it possible to close an agreement with Nordic on “significantly better terms that the original term sheet signed with Azul for E195 aircraft.”

The first Breeze´s Airbus A220-300 will be delivered in the second half of 2021 (Breeze)

Airbus A220 from August 2021

Breeze has also submitted its initial flight network to the US authorities and includes 15 destinations on the East Coast, Midwest, South and Texas.

Plans to connect the East Coast to California thanks to the range of Airbus A220-300 aircraft have been postponed to the second half of next year. The first jet from an order for 60 units is expected to be delivered in August and begin their flights in October. Before that, Breeze would receive the plane from the first half of 2021.