Governor Dan McKee was joined today by Breeze Airways President Tom Doxey along with federal, state and local officials, to announce that Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport (PVD) will become a base of operations for Breeze Airways in 2023.
The announcement will result in up to 250 full-time Rhode Island jobs, including pilots and flight crews, as well as support staff and maintenance personnel to sustain up to a total of 20 nonstop routes
“Today’s announcement continues our state’s economic momentum,” said Governor McKee. “Establishing a base of operations at Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport not only creates more good-paying jobs, but also supports our tourism efforts by bringing in new tourists and visitors to our great state which in turn supports our economy. I want to thank Breeze for choosing Rhode Island. We stand ready to ensure this is a success.”
“Since launching here a year ago, the community, the airport and the state of Rhode Island have fully embraced Breeze – making it one of our fastest growing cities,” said Tom Doxey, President of Breeze Airways. “The ease and convenience of flying from PVD perfectly encapsulates our ‘Seriously Nice’ approach to air travel and we’re thrilled to expand our services from Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport in the coming years.”
Breeze Airways has committed to opening a base at Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport beginning in 2023. Over a 5-year ramp-up period, Breeze Airways will base 6-8 aircraft at PVD, most of which will be the Airbus A-220, a brand new aircraft with industry-leading fuel efficiency. Breeze will also grow its network at PVD from the current eight existing or announced routes to 20 or more routes over the 5-year ramp up phase that begins with the opening of the base. Breeze will offer approximately 20 average weekly departures by the end of 2023, reaching 44 weekly departures by 2027.
A “base” is an airport where an airline’s aircraft operate from that location. Airlines conduct regular maintenance checks and repairs at their bases. Bases are also locations where flight crews reside, which increases the potential for additional flight options for consumers and adds more flight options and the benefit of enhanced reliability given the availability of reserve crews and back-up aircraft.
According to a press release from Governor McKee’s office, Rhode Island benefits not only from the creation of up to 250 new permanent airport jobs, but also will receive economic and tax revenue benefits generated by more routes, increased tourism related employment and revenue, expanded options for business and leisure travel as well as increased state hotel tax revenue.
“Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport is thrilled to become a base of operations for Breeze Airways,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. “The benefits of this wonderful news goes well beyond the airport, and will help create new jobs and new revenues throughout Rhode Island to help grow our local economy for years to come.”
“It’s nice when airlines announce plans to add routes to Rhode Island and it’s even better when they announce plans like this to make the Ocean State a base of operations. It shows the federal investments we’ve made to upgrade the airport are paying real dividends for the state,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed. “As Breeze continues expanding their network, I’m pleased they’ve chosen Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport as a key base. Demand from air travelers is returning and the airport’s capacity for growth is positioned for takeoff.”
“As a lifelong Warwick resident who knows the importance of the airport to our city and the state, this exciting announcement by Breeze shows that our legislative initiatives are paying strong dividends. Our airport now has the tools to grow and create hundreds of additional jobs. Since becoming Speaker last year, we changed the name of the airport to better position us from a marketing standpoint and we added destination marketing funds to the state budget. This ensures that Rhode Islanders aren’t just flying out to great destinations, but that visitors from around the country and the world are coming here to vacation and support our economy,” said Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi.
“When Iftikhar and his team came to us this past session to explain the importance of destination marketing and how behind Rhode Island was compared to other states, the Senate leadership team immediately made this a budget priority. There are many components to the structure that made this day possible, but we are extremely proud of the Senate’s role in expanding direct routes for Rhode Islanders and bolstering our tourism economy. This truly is a historic day for Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport,” said Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey.
“On behalf of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation Board of Directors, I thank Breeze Airways and Rhode Island’s leadership who have worked so hard to help make this development possible,” said RIAC Board Chair Jonathan Savage “RIAC has long recognized the important role served by our airports as a vital economic driver for the state, creating an economic impact of over $2.6 billion a year and supporting over 19,000 jobs. The new routes and jobs generated by this agreement will only help the Rhode Island economy grow further.”
“Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport becoming a base of operations for Breeze Airways will not only create hundreds of permanent jobs, but will also help increase city revenues and attract more travelers to our region,” said Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi. “I am thrilled about this new commitment and look forward to seeing Breeze’s growth in the years to come.”
To help launch and support this base of operations, McKee’s office writes that Breeze Airlines is expected to apply for tax credits under the Qualified Jobs Incentive Program. “As a reminder, these tax credits are not paid out until the jobs have been created and paying state income tax for a full year. This application would come before the Board of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation for review and approval”. Based on the jobs that would qualify for this program, the airline could receive up to $300,000 per year for 10 years under the Qualified Jobs Tax Credit Program. Additionally, the State has agreed to engage in destination marketing to attract visitors to fly to Rhode Island, which was recently affirmed by the General Assembly and Governor in the FY23 State Budget.
Over the next five years, Rhode Island Commerce will be doing destination marketing in the 20 geographic areas from which Breeze will initiate flights, subject to legislative appropriation. These funds would come from the state’s Air Service Development Fund. We also expect Breeze to apply for funds through the Air Service Development Fund for incentives to help with ground handling operations of opening a base at Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport. According to Appleseed, a third-party economic impact analysis firm, the economic impact from this Qualified Jobs project would be an estimated increase in annual state GDP of $76.23 million in 2026 and a gross increase of approximately $5.93 million in personal income, sales and business tax revenues during the twelve-year commitment period beginning in 2023.