Airline entrepreneur David Neeleman said his new U.S. airline would begin flights next year and may employ used Embraer planes cast off by his Brazilian carrier, Azul.
The fledgling U.S. carrier, which Neeleman has code-named Moxy, will give customers new ways to customize their flight experience, including legroom, food and prices, Neeleman has said. It will be low-cost “but not austere,” and will compete in a market populated by the four largest U.S. carriers as well as heavy discounters like Spirit Airlines.
Neeleman, who is leading a group of investors in the new airline, has revealed few additional details of his plan, but has said the carrier would likely be based near a technology center other than Silicon Valley. Neeleman’s past start-ups include JetBlue Airways, Canada’s WestJet Airlines and Brazil’s Azul.
Neeleman already has signed an order for 60 Airbus SE A220-300 planes for the U.S. carrier. But the first of those aircraft won’t be delivered until 2021. In the interim, the Embraer E195s he’s replacing with newer models at Azul could be used on routes flown by Moxy, he said Thursday at an Embraer event in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Neeleman would buy the E195s from Azul or lease them. Azul took delivery at the same event of its first Embraer E195-E2, which it’s leasing from AerCap Holdings. It expects to take six of the planes from lessors by the end of this year. Additionally, Azul has ordered 51 E195-E2s from Embraer.
In June, General Electric Co.’s jet-leasing unit agreed to provide aircraft for Moxy under a purchase-and-leaseback agreement covering nine A220s. Flights with either the used E195s or A220s would all be “under the Moxy umbrella,” Neeleman said.