Breeze Airways marks 1st day of its base in Rhode Island

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — Breeze Airways on Wednesday marked its first day of base operations in Warwick.

In August, Gov. Dan McKee announced that Breeze Airways would use T.F. Green International Airport as a base. It’s expected to create over 200 full-time jobs in the Ocean State.

Those jobs include pilots, flight crews, and support staff for what will eventually be a 20 non-stop flight routes. There will be a five-year period of growth for the base, starting with eight routes and expanding to 20.

Typically, flight crews live near a company’s base of operations, and it’s used to allow maintenance checks and repairs on all planes.

“We put destination marketing in our budget — the first time ever out of the airport,” said McKee. “We are expecting that reports are going to come in that that’s been very successful. We’re building on that this year, asking the General Assembly to approve that as well — and the Breeze airline is a great addition.”

McKee was referring to Rhode Island’s plans to market its tourism options in the areas Breeze flights will fly to and from.

Travelers are fired up about having another option to fly.

“Usually, you have to wait like eight hours to go from North Carolina from here and this is a direct flight, so it’s really brought our family together,” said one traveler, Susan Freeman.

For travelers like Freeman, flying isn’t always smooth or convenient.

“So difficult, so many changes, so many layovers, and this is direct,” said another traveler, Patricia Todd.

Breeze Airways opening its new base means more direct flights to places like the East Coast, Florida, and North Carolina.

“My grandchildren live in Rhode Island, so I come monthly to visit them, and Breeze has made it affordable,” said a third traveler.

The new base also means more people visiting Rhode Island from out of state, and more Rhode Islanders taking advantage of the Ocean State’s airport.

Traveling is ramping back up again since the pandemic and according to the U.S. Travel Association, over half of all Americans are planning to travel for leisure within the next several months.

You may be wondering why did Breeze Airways choose Rhode Island?

“There’s no direct service from here to the West Coast, but we do serve markets that are underserved, so it’s a perfect place for us,” said the COO, Michael Wuerger.

The airline has already filled 50 of its promised 250 jobs.

“We want our team members to be friends and family because that’s how the word spreads, so if we have teammates that work here, live here… I think the word will spread a lot faster,” said Wuerger.

According to officials, not only will those who work for and fly with Breeze be in Rhode Island, they will also be utilizing local restaurants, shops, and hotels, which in turn will only help the economy.

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