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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Breeze Airways is about to take off. The new low-cost airline will operate its first flights on May 27.

Why it matters: The airline sprang to life just in time to take advantage of historic pandemic-induced dislocations in the air travel market.

  • Used planes are abundant and cheap, and there's a labor pool to pick from after pilots and other workers lost their jobs at bigger airlines, the AP reports.
  • Flight volumes are beginning to bounce back, thanks to domestic leisure travel — Breeze's target market.

One unusual pitch: “We created Breeze as a new airline merging technology with kindness,” says founder David Neeleman.

  • Breeze will even offer KIND bars in-flight (Utz products, too).

Details: Neeleman is a prolific founder of airlines, having previously started JetBlue, Brazil’s Azul, Canada’s WestJet, and Morris Air (acquired in the '90s by Southwest).

  • By July, Breeze aims to be flying nonstop routes out of 16 U.S. airports, targeting smaller cities where major airlines have cut back.

Of note: Low-cost carrier Avelo Airlines also launched this spring, serving a handful of destinations on the West Coast.

Our thought bubble: Out of the gate, Breeze is filling a gap for services legacy carriers aren't currently providing. But it could still eat away at the incumbents' sales on the margins — especially by helping customers skip those annoying layover flights to mid-size cities.

  • This while Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines operate under the weight of the tens of billions in additional debt they borrowed to stay afloat during the pandemic.

What to watch: Breeze is just getting started. "There are so many city pairs needing nonstop service around the country, we have a further 100 cities under consideration," according to Neeleman.

Go deeper

Breeze Airways to bring more nonstop flights to XNA

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Breeze Airways will offer nonstop flights from XNA to Tampa starting June 17 and nonstop flights to New Orleans and San Antonio starting July 15.

  • Breeze is a new airline from the founder of JetBlue targeting cities that are underserved by larger airlines.

Why it matters: With the three new cities, XNA will now offer nonstop flights to 21 destinations, giving local travelers more options to get away.

Context: In recent years, XNA has started offering direct flights to more cities, such as Phoenix, Austin and Nashville. Other expansion plans are in the works.

Details: Flights to the new cities will be available Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays year-round. And, heads up, you might be able to score a ticket for as low as $39.

Updated 26 mins ago - Science

NTSB probes crash that killed 10 in Alabama as storms lash Southeast

A car drives in the rain in Galveston, Texas. Photo: Zeng Jingning/China News Service via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that it's investigating a fiery multi-vehicle weekend crash in Alabama that killed 10 people, including nine children, as storms swept the Southeast.

The big picture: Saturday's crash on Interstate 65, south of Montgomery, occurred amid a tropical depression that left 13 people dead in Alabama as it triggered flash floods and spawned tornadoes that razed "dozens of homes," per AP.

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.