David Neeleman is the most prolific airline creator of our times.
He co-founded Morris Air in the 80s and sold it to Southwest after less than a decade for $130 million. He co-founded Canada’s Westjet in the mid-90s and today it is Canada’s second largest airline. He founded NewAir in the late 90s which was re-branded as JetBlue before its first flights in 2000, which were from JFK to Buffalo and Fort Lauderdale.
After being forced out from JetBlue due to a JetBlue operational meltdown during an ice storm in 2007 he went on to launch Azul Airlines in Brazil. In 2008 I covered a promotion that they ran to name their new airline with free tickets for life. It was no surprise that the winning choice means Blue in Portuguese. After all, Mr. Neeleman’s philosophy has always been to create low cost carriers offering a premium customer experience and Brazilians wanted to bring some of that JetBlue magic to their home market.
Azul’s network is based on flying comfortable E-195 planes and they focus on secondary airports in many cases, such as their hub in São Paulo/VCP. They are mileage partners with United.
Mr. Neeleman has also been involved in TAP Portugal’s turnaround.
Bloomberg reports that Mr. Neeleman will launch a new airline in the US, which is tentatively slated to be called Moxy. Yes, that’s also the name of one of Marriott’s ridiculous glut of hotel brands.
Moxy will offer point to point flights from smaller secondary airports in the US.
It has secured orders for 60 Bombardier CS300 aircraft, which looks like it will be the most comfortable airplane ever made for economy class passengers. The plane will offer 5 across seating in a 3-2 configuration which will result in fewer middle seats, similar to the Boeing 717 that was championed by AirTran and Hawaiian Airlines. The seats should be about 19 inches wide, which will be significantly more comfortable than the 17 and 18 inch seats offered on Boeing and Airbus planes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it offer other premium features, like the free WiFi that JetBlue offers.
That’s a whole lot more exciting to me than another ultra low cost carrier like Allegiant, Frontier, Spirit, or Sun Country.
With other airlines racing to the bottom with torturous slimline narrow economy class seats and bathrooms on planes like American’s and United’s 737 MAX that are too small for people to use, it’s great to see someone has the moxy to keep launching low-cost airlines with a premium focus.
Do you think Moxy will be a success?