JetBlue Co-Founder Planning To Start US Airline Using Bombardier CS300 Aircraft

While many of the exciting innovations in aircraft technology have centered around new widebody models, like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350, there have also been new narrowbody models, like the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo.

Another new model has been the CSeries, by aircraft manufacturer Bombardier.

Ben flew this new model earlier this year, and described it as a ‘joy to fly on.’ The wider cabin means that the 2-3 seating is wider than standard narrowbody economy seats.

Moxy

Well, this aircraft type is making some people really sit up and take notice. David Neeleman, who co-founded JetBlue, is planning on launching a new airline called Moxy.

Neeleman is well known and highly respected in the airline industry. He started at Southwest, then helped create WestJet, then JetBlue, and then Azul in Brazil. He is currently in charge of the majority shareholder at TAP Portugal, but never seems to stay in one job for too long.

Neeleman was at one stage so highly regarded at Southwest that he was considered a possible successor to the legendary Herb Kellerher, who founded Southwest. If you ever get the chance to listen to a podcast series called ‘How I Built This,’ there is a fascinating episode where Herb is interviewed, and he is an incredibly smart operator.

Airline Weekly is reporting that plans for the new airline are already well underway, with $100 million of funding already raised, some of which is from former Air Canada CEO Robert Milton.

Moxy reportedly intends to order 60 of the CS300 aircraft, to be made in Mobile, Alabama. This would be the largest order for the CS300 and the second largest CSeries order behind Delta, which has 75 CS100 on order. Moxy is planning to take first flights in 2020.

Bomboardier stock rose 6% earlier this week after this news broke.

Moxy’s Strategy

Start-up airlines are rarely successful, but this venture is being led by someone who is an absolute expert at building non-conventional airlines. Moxy will initially target secondary airports, namely:

  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • Forth Worth, Texas
  • Burbank, California
Will these be Moxy’s first routes?

As for the service model, Moxy says it will not compete with Spirit and Frontier, which presumably would be impossible to do if they are starting out with brand new aircraft anyway. Moxy says it will adopt a low cost model in charging for seat assignments and food and beverage onboard, however it promises to offer spacious seats and complimentary wifi compared with its low cost competitors.

Bottom line

While the choice of airports may seem a bit strange, I imagine Moxy’s strategy is that they can secure far lower landing fees by utilising airports close to major airport hubs, i.e. Burbank is close to Los Angeles, Fort Worth is close to Dallas, Providence is close to Boston.

David Neeleman is one of the most successful airline creators in the world, so I have no doubt he has already done his homework in order to make this a commercial success.

What do you make of the plans to launch ‘Moxy?’

(Tip of the hat to Live and Let Fly)

Comments

  1. I would be concerned about brand confusion with Marriott’s budget hotel chain of the same name…

  2. Neeleman actually started at Morris Air. He co-founded this airline in the late 1980s with June Morris, a travel agency owner in Salt Lake City. Southwest bought this airline in 1993/1994, and with this Southwest started flying to salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland, and a few other PNW cities that they hadnt flown on before. So, he had been at Morris for the better part of 10 years before he started working for Southwest.

  3. I don’t get the strategy: We’re kind of low cost but not really. I think Virgin America did well because the product looked hip, unique, with plenty of entertainment. But I don’t see anything about Moxy that would make me want to try it out, per se. What’s the incentive? I guess maybe their prices would be lower, but then again most consumers search for fares out of major airports. I think if a new airline is to succeed it has to offer something special that would build the brand.

  4. I’m guessing orders like this have Boeing wishing they’d have made a deal with Bombardier for $1 to buy the 50.01% of the CS-series program that Airbus did. Hell, they could have DOUBLED the offer to $2 and would still have had a better deal than they are likely to end up with Embraer.

    Boeing was probably following Trump’s lead and decided that Canada is a bad trading partner.

  5. @ AJ – I said Delta had the largest ‘CSeries’ order which is correct — they are ordering the CS100 variant, while Moxy is ordering the CS300 variant. But I’ll update to clarify.

  6. Coming from a DFW resident, I had no clue where FTW actually was until I GCmapped it!

  7. @John
    Marriott also runs a hotel chain called Delta btw 😉 So far I’ve never seen brand confusion between the hotel and the airline (DL).

  8. @Boco
    The model is somewhat like what Porter has done, except Moxy will likely get better value from secondary airports, in addition to being able to use jets (which Porter could not get approved).

  9. Just a small note. The majority share holder at TAP Air Portugal is still the Portuguese government with 50% of the airline. The Atlantic Gateway group, led by Neeleman owns 45% and TAP workers the other 5%.

  10. So excited. The CEO of JetBlue has been messing up his wonderful creation recently. I am looking forward to Moxy and am hoping that Neeleman takes the plunge on the Florida market soon. Spacious seating and good wifi is all that most people need for domestic flights. Most domestic airlines are providing really crappy seating.

  11. @john – business media reports are indicating “Moxy” is just a code name, as JetBlue was originally called “NewAir” and early indications were that the operating name would be “Taxi”, with a bright yellow livery like Spirit’s latest paint job.

    Not sure about the route structure, will need to see more. PVD-BUR could work if there’s enough demand in the areas close to Providence to support the route without depending on people closer to Boston, since JetBlue is starting BOS-BUR in September.

    As for FTW, is there even any sort of passenger terminal in place right now, and if there is what sort of shape is it in? If Wikipedia is right, they haven’t had scheduled passenger service since 1998. There are a few charter/fractional operations there, I’m presuming they use one of the FBOs.

    Can think of a few alternate airports around here (Tampa) they could look at: PIE is doing some renovation work, SRQ is always looking for new service (I believe they have incentives available for a more western destination, although I think they’d rather have a network carrier to Dallas or Houston for connections to the West than a PTP flight to FTW. Lakeland Linder also a possibility as an alternative for both the eastern Tampa Bay area and Disney, but it has limits, since the west coast beach crowd has lots of alternatives that are closer (TPA, PIE, SRQ, PGD, RSW, depending on which beach they’re headed for.)

    Should be interesting!

  12. You can be sure that they are getting AMAZING deals on those CS300s. This is exactly the kind of order they have needed and have been pushing to get for years.

  13. Fort Worth will gladly build Neelman a terminal if he brings passenger service back to the city.

  14. If your destination is in the northern half of the LA area Burbank is absolutely preferred and Providence covers a significant population area. So I see a number of passengers using this route. Obviously wouldn’t work for connections but man if I was going from the Boston area to the LA area this is a great option. Avoiding a ton of congestion compared to LAX and Boston. And I’m sure there is enough O/D traffic between these two large population centers to make this work.

  15. Dallas native here who lived in Ft. Worth. Hard to imagine making that comute just to catch a domestic flight with so many options out of DFW and DAL.

    But Having lived in Ft Worth and still spending a lot of time there, I think it can support some well chosen routes. But the pax would need to draw from the population of Ft Worth and the western side of the DFW metroplex (which is big, cause you know, it’s Texas lol).

  16. PLEASE initiate a route from PVD to TER and PDL in the Azores !! Azores Airlines / SATA (S4 airline code) is abysmal in both price and performance. The Azores are only 4:15 to, and 5:15 hours return, and the Portuguese / Azorean population is huge in the PVD area. Delta and United are beginning SEASONAL flights to Ponta Delgada only, but flights to Terceira (TER) are also needed– or at least connecting flights from PDL.
    Azores Airlines is in big trouble financially, so perhaps Needleman can do a deal with them ???
    Here’s hoping…
    An Azores frequent flyer (as I bought a house there :))

  17. Moxy sounds interesting. It’s true that airline startups are a gamble. The fact that it’s being started by someone who has the experience already makes it seem promising.

  18. “Fort Worth is close to Dallas”.

    Not exactly. It’s roughly 35 miles from downtown Dallas to Meacham but that only tells part of the story. The Metroplex is enormous, and FTW just isn’t convenient unless you live in Ft. Worth, some of the suburbs to the west/southwest, and maybe the south/west sides of Denton County (even then some of these areas are probably equidistant to DFW). No way I’m driving from Plano to Meacham unless I’m getting a REALLY good deal. You might pick up 25% of the area’s population, but then again that’s better than 1.5 million people.

    @CraigTPA @Cousin Richard – the problem is the Five Party Agreement which ended the Wright Amendment requires both Dallas and Ft. Worth to formally oppose commercial service at any airport besides DFW and DAL until 2022. They supposedly have to “try to convince” any carrier that asks not to do it, though service is ultimately allowed at a city-owned airport (which I believe FTW is) if those attempts fail. But there’s no way Ft. Worth would be allowed to improve/construct a terminal until 2022, I don’t think.

  19. A good time to start a new airline, because right now there are a lot of talented people from Baltia looking for a new job! They should start by hiring Baltia‘s investor relations people, they are obviously brilliant.

  20. @MeanMeosh – thanks for the additional information. Could “Moxy” build their own terminal after the city “tries” to convince them to go to DFW or DAL? I suspect that even that would get tied up in court for years, as NIMBYs or any of the “Five Parties” could tie up the building permits, etc., for years.

    If Neeleman’s timetable doesn’t call for FTW until 2022, they can just wait out the clock, or start limited service to DFW then move it to FTW in 2022 if they still think FTW is a better idea.

  21. They are starting with BUR, FTW and PVD because they are going to name the new airline “Bufopro”.

    As Lucky’s readers know, that’s a tried and true naming strategy.

  22. BUR is actually a mile or so closer to downtown LA than LAX, and is a heck of lot easier to get in / out of than LAX.

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