Air Travel

Breeze Airways’ Jacksonville plans are good news

Breeze CEO David Neeleman, who ran airlines in South America after he was ousted as CEO of JetBlue more than a decade ago, said there was an untapped market in the United States for non-stop flights between small towns.

Breeze Airways’ plans to offer nonstop service to and from Jacksonville to seven cities starting in May is a sure sign that leisure travel is returning to Jacksonville International Airport.

The country’s airports have consistently been busier than at any time since the coronavirus pandemic brought travel to a halt. Jacksonville is no exception.

Numbers speak best, and data from the Jacksonville Aviation Authority shows a steady increase in passenger numbers, especially over the past year. In mid-March, several major airline executives at an investor conference in New York said they had passed on higher fuel prices to passengers. They would be confident in their ability to do so due to travel demand from vacationers and business travelers.

Sam Snead's Grill & Tavern reopened March 3 at Jacksonville International Airport after being temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacksonville Aviation Authority officials told The Times-Union.

This is a significant change in air travel consumer confidence since the massive decline in air travel at the start of the pandemic. And it’s a big factor in the reopening of Sam Snead’s Grill & Tavern after being closed for nearly two years. This follows the opening of Southern Grounds & Co. last month at the airport, and a few more restaurants — including those tied to Jacksonville — announcing plans to open next year.