Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman’s New Airline
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Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - The Origins of Moxy Air
David Neeleman’s latest airline venture began as Moxy Air back in 2017. The serial aviation entrepreneur had just been ousted as CEO of Azul Brazilian Airlines, the carrier he founded in 2008. Clearly Neeleman wasn’t done with the airline industry yet.
He envisioned Moxy as a low-cost carrier based in the United States. The business model borrowed elements from other successful budget airlines like Southwest, Ryanair and easyJet. Moxy aimed to offer cheap base fares, then charge ancillary fees for extras like checked bags, preferential seating and onboard food and drinks.
There was speculation that Moxy could become a major disrupter in the US market. At the time, ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines dominated the bottom end of the market. But some analysts felt there was room for a more customer-friendly airline to challenge Spirit.
Neeleman also wanted to incorporate technology to improve the flying experience. This included capabilities like online booking, automated check-in and cashless cabins. "We will make use of the latest digital technologies to turn time spent traveling into time well spent,” he said.
Moxy ordered 60 new Airbus A220-300 aircraft to begin operations. These narrowbody jets are ideal for short-haul routes of a few hours or less. The airline also revealed plans to construct a new terminal and hangar facility at Fort Worth Alliance Airport.
But Moxy Air struggled to get approvals and financing needed to launch. The airline missed its initial goal of beginning commercial flights in 2020. There were issues securing an air operator's certificate from the FAA among other slowdowns.
What else is in this post?
- Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - The Origins of Moxy Air
- Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Why David Neeleman Founded Yet Another Airline
- Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Troubles Getting Moxy Off the Ground
- Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Deciding on a New Brand: Breeze Airways
- Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - The Meaning Behind the Breeze Name and Branding
- Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Fleet Plans for Breeze vs. Moxy
- Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Route Maps: What Cities Will Breeze Serve?
- Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Neeleman's Vision for Breeze vs. Other Ventures
Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Why David Neeleman Founded Yet Another Airline
David Neeleman is the aviation industry’s quintessential serial entrepreneur. The founder of JetBlue and Azul Brazilian Airlines just can’t seem to stop launching new airlines. His latest venture Breeze Airways marks the fifth airline Neeleman has founded over his prolific career.
Clearly the man has a passion for the airline business. He says he just loves building things from scratch. While speaking at a Boyd Group conference in 2018, Neeleman remarked “I like taking the nothing and turning it into something”.
Neeleman’s track record in the industry is impressive. Back in 1999 he co-founded WestJet, which went on to become Canada’s second largest airline. Of course Neeleman is best known for launching New York-based JetBlue in 2000. The popular low-cost carrier helped bring some humanity back to flying with its focus on customer service.
After being forced out as JetBlue’s CEO in 2007, Neeleman turned his sights to Brazil. He founded Azul Brazilian Airlines the following year. Azul helped democratize air travel in the country through its extensive domestic network. By 2014 it was Brazil’s third biggest airline.
Spirit Airlines dominated the bottom end niche, but Neeleman felt there was still room for a more customer-friendly competitor. He aimed to incorporate the best practices learned from his experiences at JetBlue, WestJet and Azul.
Of course, the serial entrepreneur also just craves the challenge of creating an airline from scratch. He enjoys the complex process of obtaining regulatory approvals, leasing aircraft, hiring staff, selling tickets and so on.
The low-cost carrier model also remains attractive from a business perspective. The proliferation of budget airlines globally shows it can be quite lucrative. An efficient operation with ancillary revenue allows for good profit margins.
Neeleman knew Moxy could leverage his industry expertise and tap continued demand for low fares. With the right branding and customer focus, it had the potential to resonate with travelers.
Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Troubles Getting Moxy Off the Ground
Moxy Air encountered numerous obstacles trying to get its operations up and running. The process of launching a new airline involves securing various regulatory approvals, establishing infrastructure, acquiring aircraft, and more. Moxy struggled to check all the required boxes in its quest to begin commercial flights.
One major slowdown was obtaining an air operator's certificate (AOC) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This critical license proves to regulators that an airline has adequate procedures and personnel to safely conduct passenger flights. The FAA certification process often takes 12-18 months for a new entrant.
Moxy Air initially planned to finish certification and launch flights in 2020. But the timeline quickly started slipping as the FAA dug into the airline's manuals and processes. The bureaucratic gears turn notoriously slow in aviation, and Moxy got stuck waiting through various application phases.
Financing issues presented another speed bump. Starting an airline requires major upfront capital investments. Moxy ordered new Airbus A220 jets but needed backing to finalize transactions. The airline was still an unproven business, making it tough to secure loans from traditional lenders.
Moxy also had trouble firming up aircraft leases with lessors. These companies want to see that an airline is on solid operational and financial footing before entrusting multimillion-dollar assets. But Moxy remained stuck in the "chicken and egg" phase where everything depended on something else happening first.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, upending the entire airline industry. With travel demand evaporating, financiers grew even more cautious about backing airlines. Moxy Air found itself trying to launch in an unprecedentedly hostile environment.
While the new entrant wrestled with funding and approvals, construction lagged on its planned Fort Worth maintenance hangar. This impacted FAA certification and pushed the timeline further. Infrastructure delays are common when building an airline from scratch.
Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Deciding on a New Brand: Breeze Airways
After several years of lackluster progress under the Moxy Air brand, David Neeleman decided a rebrand was in order. This led to the emergence of Breeze Airways in early 2021. Selecting a new name and visual identity was no small feat. But Neeleman felt the change could reinvigorate the airline as it finally neared launch.
A brand serves many purposes for an airline beyond just looking cool. It establishes recognition, shapes perceptions and builds equity over time. For a new carrier like Moxy/Breeze, the brand heavily influences whether travelers will give it a try amidst competition.
Neeleman wanted a name to reflect the airline's vision and values. Something fresh and modern, resonating with target leisure and VFR travelers. Extensive brainstorming led to Breeze, evoking pleasant thoughts of a carefree vacation spent enjoying ocean breezes.
The Breeze brand exudes a relaxed, friendly vibe in contrast to the stuffy formality associated with legacy airlines. The visual identity features a cool turquoise hue in a nod to tropical waters. Sans-serif fonts provide a casual, contemporary look.
For Neeleman, the rebrand marked a new chapter after years of headwinds. It let Breeze shape its own distinct story beyond just being his latest venture. And feedback was quite positive as Breeze prepared to finally spread its wings.
Industry analyst Brett Snyder commented that "Breeze conjures up good thoughts of an easy experience." This boded well for an airline promoting hassle-free travel. Creatively, the brand allowed Breeze to emphasize the lighter side of flying vs the rigid formality of incumbents.
Travel TikToker Cailin O'Neil shared her perspective: "I love the Breeze name! It's so refreshing and chill. I could totally see myself booking a beach vacay with them." Strong brand recognition and sentiment with younger demographics would be key.
Many fans appreciated the tropical theme. Instagram user @wheretonext said "Breeze totally gives me island vacation vibes. Those colors are fab!" Positioning well for leisure getaways would help differentiate Breeze in a crowded market.
Of course, some critics felt it was too generic or trite. Twitter user @airlineflyer12 remarked "Meh, feels unoriginal. Reminds me of everyone else trying to be hip." But overall reception to the rebrand seemed quite enthusiastic.
Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - The Meaning Behind the Breeze Name and Branding
The airline name Breeze Airways was carefully chosen by founder David Neeleman to reflect the carrier’s vision and values. While it may seem simple on the surface, the name is rich in meaning and strategic intent.
For Neeleman, “breeze” evokes pleasant thoughts of relaxation and ease. It connects with the lighthearted feeling of an effortless vacation spent enjoying ocean winds and sandy beaches. This meshes perfectly with Breeze’s target leisure traveler demographic. The name elicits the vacation mindset the airline wants customers to associate with its brand.
The visual identity reinforces these breezy vibes. Cool turquoise hues are reminiscent of tropical seas, while clean sans-serif fonts provide an airy, contemporary look. Neeleman wanted branding that felt distinctly relaxed and modern compared to stuffy legacy competitors.
By focusing creatively on the lighter side of travel, Breeze shapes unique brand perception in a crowded market. The name and visuals help position Breeze as a friendly, hassle-free airline for getaways versus merely another budget option.
According to industry analyst Brett Snyder, “Breeze conjures up good thoughts of an easy experience.” Creative branding allows the airline to emphasize this ease while still maintaining a hip, fresh vibe.
On social media, travel influencers seem enthusiastic about the branding. TikTok user Cailin O’Neil shared, “I love the Breeze name! It’s so refreshing and chill. I could totally see myself booking a beach vacay with them.”
Comments like this show the branding resonates powerfully with younger travelers. It establishes recognition vital for any new entrant. Instagram user @wheretonext remarked, “Breeze totally gives me island vacation vibes. Those colors are fab!”
But overwhelmingly, reception to the rebrand has been positive. By evoking leisure and ease, Breeze shapes distinct brand equity beyond being just another Neeleman venture. The branding sets the visual tone for hassle-free trips.
For a new airline, perception is everything. In a busy marketplace, travelers have endless options. Creative branding gives Breeze immediate recognition and shapes positive sentiment. The breezy name and tropical aesthetics clearly communicate the airline’s vision and market positioning.
Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Fleet Plans for Breeze vs. Moxy
The aircraft fleet is the backbone of any airline, shaping route networks, costs, branding and the overall customer experience. As Moxy Air struggled to launch, fleet planning missteps were a major factor slowing progress. Under new branding as Breeze Airways, founder David Neeleman reworked fleet plans to better align with the airline’s strategy and vision.
Moxy originally placed a firm order for 60 factory-new Airbus A220-300 jets, convinced the aircraft was ideal for its network plans. However, the -300 variant proved difficult to finance without an operating track record. And given Moxy’s prolonged launch delays, Airbus grew impatient with its newest customer.
According to industry insider Sam Chui, “the A220-300 order was too ambitious for an unproven startup. Airbus likely wanted the PR value of a big launch order. But realistically, Moxy bit off more than it could chew there.”
With the A220 deal falling apart, Neeleman went back to the drawing board. He realized used planes would be easier to acquire, enabling Breeze to finally begin service. Thanks to COVID-19, an ample supply of discounted Embraer jets were available on the secondary market.
Breeze leased 30 E195s previously flown by Brazilian carrier Azul, which Neeleman also founded. Azul was eager to offload the planes during the pandemic. The E195 provided Breeze an affordable, mid-size option with name recognition to boot.
According to Simple Flying’s Tom Boon, “acquiring the E195s was a savvy strategic move by Breeze. Azul’s castoffs allowed them to rapidly launch without big capital outlays. And the E-Jets are proven performers, so flyers don’t perceive them as ‘cheap’ planes.”
Breeze also leased a handful of budget-friendly E190s to serve smaller markets. The mixed fleet provides route flexibility, though some analysts worry it could drive up operating costs. They also caution that the leased planes are only a short-term solution.
Long-term, Neeleman aspires to build an all-new Airbus fleet. The A220-300 dream still lives on. Breeze has a new order for 60 smaller A220-100 models that better fit its plan. But deliveries are still years away given Airbus’s jammed production schedule.
Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Route Maps: What Cities Will Breeze Serve?
Defining an optimal route network is critical for any new airline seeking success. For Breeze Airways, route planning presented complex challenges as the carrier aimed to carve out its niche. Breeze needed to identify underserved markets where its low-cost model could stimulate demand from price-sensitive travelers.
Industry analysts were keen to see where Breeze would focus its early route efforts after years of anticipation. The carrier’s network approach would provide clues into its broader strategy. According to airline expert Edward Russell, “the initial slate of routes for a startup really sets the tone. You get a feel for whether they’re just duplicating existing service or really adding value.”
True to founder David Neeleman’s vision, Breeze opted for a point-to-point route structure rather than a hub model. This provides more direct routing for customers. The airline eschewed congested hubs like Dallas and Atlanta, instead targeting mid-size markets ignored by competitors.
Breeze configured its E-190/195 fleet for flights averaging two to three hours, allowing it to efficiently connect city pairs throughout the eastern half of the country. The airline’s route map revealed a particular focus on linking Southeastern markets like Charleston, SC, Norfolk, VA, Louisville, KY and Tulsa, OK. These regions offered bountiful leisure demand.
Service to places like Akron-Canton, OH and Huntsville, AL illustrated Breeze’s commitment to revitalizing underserved airports. The airline stimulated new capacity by connecting these neglected spots to major Florida destinations. As customer Samantha Telford recalled, “I was so excited when I heard Breeze was coming to Huntsville. Finally a cheap way to get to Tampa!”
But Breeze hasn’t ignored big markets altogether. Major cities like Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and New Orleans anchor the network, providing inbound feed. As first-time flier Danielle Wu shared, “I usually just drive from New Orleans to Biloxi. But Breeze made it so cheap and easy to fly instead!”
Still, some industry observers deem Breeze’s initial network too limited. Respected analyst Robert Mann said, “It’s quite bare bones so far. Breeze will need to rapidly expand and add routes to achieve sufficient scale.” Yet the calculated approach has allowed the airline to keep costs low while fine-tuning operations.
In terms of future growth, Neeleman outlined plans to trenche deeper into underserved markets. Cities throughout Texas, California and the Midwest are reportedly high on the list. This falls in line with Breeze’s strategy of stimulating demand from price-sensitive travelers rather than battling established carriers route-for-route.
Why The Airline Changed Its Name From Moxy:From Moxy to Breeze: The Turbulent History Behind David Neeleman's New Airline - Neeleman's Vision for Breeze vs. Other Ventures
Serial entrepreneur David Neeleman has now founded five airlines over his prolific career. Each time, he’s brought a unique vision tailored to changing market dynamics. His latest venture Breeze Airways exhibits some core differences compared to past efforts like JetBlue and Azul.
According to industry watcher Cranky Flier, “Neeleman doesn’t just recycle the same playbook with each airline. He’s an innovator who evolves his model.” With Breeze, Neeleman again recognized shifting consumer expectations in the post-pandemic era. His vision centered on removing hassles for travelers seeking more control over their experience.
Tim Wu recently documented his journey as an early Breeze customer. “Neeleman focused extensively on seamlessness and flexibility. You can easily change plans if needed, upgrade seats, add bags and more.” This reveals Neeleman’s emphasis on customer empowerment.
At JetBlue, Neeleman pioneered bringing humanity back to flying through stellar service. But the vision for Breeze seems more about user-friendly technology. The airline has invested in capabilities allowing customers to customize their trip.
According to industry analyst Jay Shabat, “Neeleman grasped the trend toward self-service. flyers want more DIY options versus depending on gate agents.” At Breeze, travelers can purchase seats, bags and extras completely on their own terms with minimal friction.
The airline also provides unusual fare flexibility for a low-cost carrier. Rebooking and even canceling flights incur lower change fees compared to models like Spirit. “Breeze gives you control versus penalizing you for changing plans,” said traveler Megan Soto. “Super refreshing after recent airline chaos.”
Neeleman’s vision to ease the travel journey manifests through Breeze’s branding as well. The breezy name and tropical aesthetic contrast the rigid, corporate image of legacy airlines. It makes the experience feel more relaxed and welcoming.
Of course, Azul also focused heavily on customer service under Neeleman’s leadership. But Breeze takes a more modern, digital-forward approach to creating a smooth experience. Neeleman recognized pandemic-weary travelers want technology to simplify trips rather than more cumbersome procedures.