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The Street
The Street
Veronika Bondarenko

Another airline is squeezing out competition in a hot market

Over the last year, airlines have been battling it out for market share in a few key markets. While Puerto Rico's (former) underserved status caused both JetBlue (JBLU) -) and Frontier (FRON) -) to sweep in with more routes, Florida wins out due to the sheer amount of people who need to get to and from there.

The Sunshine State saw its permanent population grow from 21,828,069 in 2021 to 22,244,823 at the end of 2022 that, coupled with the vacationers, creates very strong flight demand both for major cities such as Miami and Orlando and smaller underserved areas. Between August and September, both Frontier and Porter expanded their networks with dozens of new routes to the state.

Related: This Airline Is Quietly Adding More Routes to One of the Most Popular U.S. States

In July, the Utah-based low-cost carrier Breeze Airways also announced that it was adding 11 new routes focusing on the Gulf Coast and Fort Myers to its network. These included flights to Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) from Columbus, Louisville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Raleigh-Durham.

lazyllama /

Breeze is adding more Florida routes; here's where they will go

"With fall and winter quickly approaching, we know many people from the Northeast and Midwest will be looking to travel to the great beaches and warmer weather Fort Myers has to offer," Breeze CEO and founder David Neeleman said in a statement at the time.

More Travel:

Just under two months later, Breeze is once again expanding its Florida network with a flight to Orlando International Airport (MCO) from Plattsburgh International Airport (PBG) in upstate New York just across the border from Montreal and twice-weekly service to Fort Myers' RSW from Maine's Portland International Jetport (PWM). Launched in 2021, Breeze has quickly carved out a market by offering those from smaller cities direct flights to sunny destinations without having to first travel to a major city.

By the end of the winter season, the airline hopes to have 1,402 Florida flights between 51 different cities. During the summer, it will shift away from some routes and focus on other underserved parts of the U.S.

"We're really focusing on seasons," Neeleman told travel website The Points Guy. "It's a pivot to Florida for the winter, and you'll see it kind of switch back in the summer. That's the advantage we have over just the regular scheduled carriers. We'd really prefer to fly what people want to fly."

The airline is offering promotional rates (here's how to score one)

To draw attention to the new routes from Plattsburgh and Portland, Breeze is offering ultra-low fares on the two new routes — those who book before the routes start in November can score a $59 flight in one direction.

The Plattsburgh expansion is particularly aimed at Canadians who can drive the one hour across the border to fly to Florida. While there is a strong market among Quebeckers looking for sun in the winter, Neeleman told the Points Guy that the airline is not yet prepared to navigate the challenges around starting cross-border service in Canada although it does plan to offer some service to Mexico and the Caribbean by the end of 2024.

"We've been working with the FAA to get our approval and so we should hopefully have that by the end of the year," Neeleman said. "And so you'll see some of the international flights starting in the spring and next summer."

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