Breeze Airways opens permanent base at Rhode Island T.F. Green

First hub in Warwick airport’s 92-year history

By: - March 29, 2023 4:20 pm
State, local, and airline officials celebrate the opening of Breeze Airway's permanent base at T.F. Green.

State, local, and airline officials celebrate the opening of Breeze Airways permanent base at T.F. Green on Wednesday, March 29. Left to right, Rhode Island Airport Corporation Board Chair Jonathan Savage, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, Gov. Dan McKee, Breeze COO Michael Weurger, Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi, and RIAC CEO Iftikhar Ahmad. (Photo by Christopher Shea/Rhode Island Current)

WARWICK —  For the first time in its 92-year history, Rhode Island’s T. F. Green International Airport is now a permanent base for a domestic airline.

Breeze Airways officially opened its Rhode Island hub with a ribbon cutting at its ticketing counter on Wednesday, March 29, much to the delight of state and local officials.

“We’re going to keep this momentum going,” Gov. Dan McKee said. “These announcements today are reflective of the fact we are still growing jobs.”

The Utah-based airline seeks to invest more than $160 million in its base over the next 12 years, including hiring 250 workers to sustain a total of up to 20 routes — translating to up to 44 departures — by 2027.

Rhode Island's Breeze employees stand for some recognition from the crowd
Breeze is expected to hire 250 workers at T.F. Green within the next 12 years. (Photo by Christopher Shea/Rhode Island Current)

“[They’re] good paying jobs, exactly what we want to do for our economy in Rhode Island,” Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said. 

Breeze has hired 50 workers so far, an airline spokesman noted.

Breeze’s base will also include a $3.5 million in renovations to the airport’s Belly Cargo Facility in order to store and maintain airplane parts, along with office space, and base up to eight planes.

“And they’re not the loud ones,” said Breeze COO Michael Weurger.

Travelers wait in line to check in at the Breeze Airways counter.
A line of travelers check in for their flight from Wawrick to Charleston, S.C. (Photo by Christopher Shea/Rhode Island Current)

Direct flights to L.A. coming

Renovations are expected to finish in July.

Breeze first landed at T.F. Green in 2021 with only three destinations. By this summer, Weurger said there will be 12.

The airline currently operates out of a single gate at T.F. Green with flights to Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Pittsburgh. Beginning in May, Breeze will offer direct flights to Los Angeles, the airport’s first regularly scheduled nonstop commercial air service to the West Coast. The coming months will see Breeze add flights in Ohio, Georgia, and the Florida destinations of Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa.

“I hope you saved up your vacation days,” Weurger said with a smile.

Though he expressed his joy over Breeze’s plans, House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi said there were a couple of glaring omissions from its destination offerings.

“I did not hear Fort Lauderale or West Palm — so I look forward to that in the future,” he said.

Travelers were also happy about their flights being more of a breeze.

Wendy Meinhardt, a resident of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, usually flies JetBlue. But after a recommendation from her daughter in Charleston, South Carolina, she figured she’d see what Breeze is about.

“It’s quick and easy,” she said as she was preparing to board her flight. “I’m excited about trying something new.”

Along with departing flights to places Rhode Islanders want to travel, McKee said having this hub will make the Ocean State a destination for other states.

“Let’s make sure the people in California come here as well,” he said. “We’re going to continue to work with all the airlines that are servicing at our airport to make sure we are providing the resources we need to bring people to the state of Rhode Island and spend their money here.”’


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Christopher Shea
Christopher Shea

Christopher Shea covers politics, the criminal justice system and transportation for the Rhode Island Current.