John Wayne Airport’s newest airline is Utah’s Breeze Airways, which began its two first local flights in February.
The Orange County service marks the Salt Lake City-based airline’s 100th nonstop service since forming in 2021 and its fourth station in California, according to Breeze Airways’ President Tom Doxey.
The new budget airline was granted three slots and features the region’s first nonstop connection from California’s Orange County to Orange County (MCO) in Orlando, Fla.
Those opportunitic slots brought Breeze to John Wayne in the first place, according to founder and Chief Executive David Neeleman.
“We’re going from castle to castle,” Neeleman told the Business Journal of providing residents an easy connection to both Disney parks. “It has always been our goal to be here.”
A nonstop flight to Provo (PVU) in Utah also started on Feb. 16, with three more destinations to be added at the end of March—Columbus and Cincinnati in Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pa. A one-stop service to Providence, R.I., will be available starting in March as well, called the BreezeThru service.
The airline mainly services the east and southeast markets and expanded to the West Coast only a year ago.
Neeleman aims to create a regional airline that specializes in low-cost, nonstop flights across the country in underserved cities.
“When you [introduce] nonstop flights, the market explodes,” Neeleman added.
Breeze’s most affordable fare is currently a one-way trip to Provo for $39 and the priciest flights are $119 from John Wayne to Pittsburgh or Columbus. For its OC-to-OC daily flights, one-way fares start at $69.
“The lower the fares we offer, the more we stimulate traffic,” Neeleman said.
All destinations between OC are currently running at introductory rates with three seating options available. Fares typically begin at $39 for Breeze’s nonstop trips in the U.S. with services currently located in 35 cities across 21 states.
The firm’s fleet, which totals 30 planes in total, includes Embraer 195’s and 190’s, and Airbus A220-300’s.
“Breeze supports community interests by bringing Orange County a fleet of cleaner, quieter aircraft,” SNA Airline Director Charlene Reynolds said in a statement.
The company aims to have 40 planes companywide by the end of the year.
John Wayne Airport reported passenger traffic count of 944,146 for December, an increase of 11.4% from last year.
Total aircraft operations decreased 3.2% to 21,704 for the month.