West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has announced an innovative new partnership between the state, Kanawha County, the city of Charleston and the new US low-cost carrier Breeze Airways.
Under the partnership agreement, the airline will aim to connect West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW) with at least five cities over the next two years.
New nonstop flights to Orlando, Florida (MCO) and Charleston, South Carolina (CHS) are now set to begin on May 31, 2023.
In addition, at least three more destinations, including New York City, are slated to be added by the carrier over the next 24 months.
An innovation to counter declining connectivity
This innovative partnership comes after years of decline in available destinations from smaller airports around the country, including West Virginia International Yeager Airport.
The flights announced today will more than double air connectivity to West Virginia’s capital.
“I’ve said over and over that our airports in West Virginia are our lifeblood,” Gov. Jim Justice said, “They fuel our economy, bring in tourism, and their ripple effects are off-the-charts.”
“CRW is absolutely knocking it out of the park, and it’s a testament to West Virginia’s resurgence as a top destination for tourism, and as the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”
“I’m so proud to welcome Breeze Airways to Almost Heaven, because I know that they will find success here, but above all, they will find a new home among our hills.”
About Breeze Airways
Breeze Airways was launched in 2021 by JetBlue founder and former CEO David Neeleman with a mission to fill a key gap in America’s air-travel offerings: efficient, affordable, direct flights between secondary airports, bypassing hubs for shorter travel times.
It was recently named one of the best domestic airlines in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure. Breeze offers travelers the option of three price levels, which it refers to as “Nice,” “Nicer,” and “Nicest,” the latter of which includes a first-class seat on the airline’s Airbus A220 aircraft.
“As we look to fill the gaps left by larger carriers in midsized markets, Charleston/Yeager is a great fit for Breeze’s business model,” said David Neeleman, Breeze Airways’ Founder and CEO.
“With our new ‘Charleston to Charleston’ service, we’ll connect the West Virginia and South Carolina cities for the very first time, and our new nonstop to Orlando is also adding another currently unserved destination from CRW.”
“We know the Almost Heaven community will enjoy Breeze’s affordability, flexibility, and our family friendly policies including free family seating.”
Breeze has grown rapidly since its founding, now with 145 nonstop routes between 36 cities in 22 states nationally. The airline has ordered 80 brand new Airbus A220-300 aircraft, with options for 40 more.
This summer, Breeze aircraft will be seen touching down in the Mountain State. The partnership includes adding three additional routes in the first two years, including potential service to New York City and the west coast.
The announcement follows several years of record-breaking tourism growth in West Virginia and a year in which the state was labeled a must-see tourism destination by publications such as Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, TIME, CNN, and USA Today.
Following the progressive decline in regional air connectivity, the newly minted innovative partnership will likely be greeted with enthusiasm by stakeholders and the wider community.
An expansion of this magnitude at West Virginia International Yeager Airport is unprecedented. Airport officials are excited about the long-term possibilities created by this new partnership.