200107 JetBlue
A JetBlue Airbus A320. Image Credit: AFP

Washington: Almost 20 years after the first JetBlue Airways flight, the New York-based company has filed an application with the Department of Transportation to launch a new airline, US media reported.

Flights for the new carrier — named Breeze Airways — could take off by the end of the year, JetBlue founder David Neeleman said.

Breeze aims to become “the world’s nicest airline” and will focus on mid-sized US cities “abandoned by our current air transportation network,” JetBlue said in its application, which was filed on Friday, according to multiple outlets.

The leisure-focused, low-cost airline would initially use Embraer 195 planes sublet from Brazil’s Azul, another of Neeleman’s companies.

Airbus A220s are scheduled to begin arriving in April 2021 for use.

The US air transport sector is highly concentrated. Four companies — Delta Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines — control three quarters of the domestic market.

“We’re going to fly where no one else is flying,” Neeleman said, adding he was considering about 500 city pairs, allowing travellers to bypass connection hubs.

Breeze Airways must first obtain its air carrier certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US regulator.