Travel notes: Start-up airlines, more chargers for electric vehicles at BWI

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blankAfter watching the financial beating airlines took during the pandemic, it seems strange to see start-ups emerge.

But that’s what’s happening as carriers bet on a surge in leisure travel and perhaps a stronger than expected recovery in business trips.

Wall Street seems to be willing to take a chance on start-ups, despite the long odds of success. A start-up airline of any size has not made a debut in 15 years.

For many years, the action was on the merger front, the biggest local example being the difficult process of combining American and US Airways.

The mega-mergers left some room for smaller fry. Earlier in the spring, Frontier Airlines, which earlier this year dipped its toe into the Delaware market with three flights a week to Orlando, was able to raise a few hundred million dollars in a stock offering.

Last week, a company founded by serial airline entrepreneur David Neeleman is preparing its launch as leisure travel demand accelerates.

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Breeze will operate a fleet of 13 Embraer e-jets ahead of Airbus A220 aircraft arriving from October.

Breeze Airways doesn’t fly anywhere near the Delaware Valley or Baltimore-Washington areas for now, but the start-up will be closely watched by competitors that include Frontier.

Breeze will focus on smaller airports that do not offer nonstop service. Typically, such airports feed traffic into hubs like Philadelphia.

Breeze’s closest destination will be Norfolk, VA.

Breeze will launch with 39 nonstop routes between 16 cities. It will not be the only start-up airline to enter the post-pandemic market.

Already launched is Avelo Airlines. Avelo is offering flights from Hollywood-Burbank in California to smaller West Coast cities and announced it will operate an East Coast hub in New Haven. Destinations from the Connecticut airport were not announced.

Avelo was founded by a former executive of United Airlines who also was a founder of low fare carrier Agilent

The first flights will operate betweenCharleston, SC,Tampa, FLandHartford, CT, startingMay 27, with remaining destinations to be added each week throughJuly 22.

Flights are on sale atwww.flybreeze.comand the Breeze app.

Breeze is Neeleman’s fifth airline start-up, after JetBlue,Brazil’sAzul,Canada’sWestJet, andUtah-based Morris Air, which was later purchased by Southwest Airlines.

While Neeleman’s track record is mixed when it comes to running an airline, the fact that these carriers are still around in one form or another is an impressive achievement.

Headquartered inSalt Lake City, Breeze will focus most flights from four main airports:Tampa, FL;Charleston, SC;New Orleans, LA; andNorfolk, VA.

“Together, we created Breeze as a new airline merging technology with kindness. Breeze provides nonstop service between underserved routes across the U.S. at affordable fares. A staggering 95 percent of Breeze routes currently have no airline serving them nonstop. With seamless booking, no change or cancellation fees, up to 24-months of reusable flight credit, and customized flight features delivered via a sleek and simple app,” Neeleman stated.

Breeze will follow Frontier’s business model, which includes fees for baggage, assigned seats, etc.

Breeze will operate 13 single-class Embraer aircraft this summer. The Brazilian jet has no middle seats.

The new airline will start taking delivery of 60 new Airbus A220 aircraft, beginning in October of this year and delivering at about one per month for five years. The A220 routes, which will be announced this fall, all will be longer than two hours’ flight time.

Destinations for the big jets have not been announced, although smaller Florida airports would seem to be a good bet.

Wilmington would seem to fit into the Breeze and Avelo business models.

One limiting factor is the current airport terminal, which can handle a couple of aircraft at a time, but does not have amenities of many smaller airports around the country that built modern terminals. Oftimes, the jetways sit unused after megacarriers cut flights from small cities to their “fortress hubs.”

Also, carriers like Frontier and Southwest have shown an eagerness to serve smaller markets.

New fast-charging electric vehicle charging stations have been added at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

The four new DC fast charging (DCFC) stations, located in the airport’s Cell Phone Lot, will allow motorists to charge their electric vehicles while waiting for airline passengers to arrive.

The four new charging stations at BWI Marshall Airport provide up to an 80 percent charge in as little as 15 minutes. The fast chargers are the first of their kind that BGE is installing in Maryland. The utility company is also working to place six additional DC stations in the airport’s rideshare lot, which serves as a staging area for rideshare drivers. BWI Marshall Airport has ten existing electric vehicle charging stations in the Daily Garage and Hourly Garage that were first installed in 201

Square photograph of one new Electric Vehicle charging station at the BWI Marshall Airport Cell Phone Lot

BGE installed the fast-charging electric vehicle charging stations as part of its EVsmart Program Public Charging Network, a partnership between the company and state and local governments that was created to expand access to EV charging stations throughout central Maryland.

Launched in 2019, BGE’s EVsmart Program is installing 500 chargers by the end of 2023. BGE’s charging rates are comparable to other public charging options.

The EVsmart Program is a joint effort by Exelon’s Maryland-based utilities (BGE, Delmarva Power, and Pepco).

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