Breeze gets initial approval for $2.9 million in tax credits to open TF Green hub

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The investment committee of RI COMMERCE CORP. on Monday approved $2.9 million in tax credits over 10 years for 116 jobs associated with Breeze Airways opening a base at Rhode Island TF Green International Airport. Pictured is Breeze Airways founder David Neeleman. /CEANORRETT VIA AP

PROVIDENCE – A panel from RI Commerce Corp. recommended nearly $3 million in state tax credits to sweeten the deal for Breeze Airways to open a permanent base at Rhode Island TF Green International Airport.

Monday’s Commerce Investment Committee vote comes nearly two months after the state announced the deal with the low-cost airline, which plans to open a hub with nonstop flights, ground operations and crews out of Warwick next year. The new Rhode Island base is expected to create 200 to 250 full-time jobs, adding about $6 million in income, sales and business tax revenue over a 12-year period, the state previously announced.

In return for the economic restart, Breeze asked the state for $2.9 million in tax credits through its Skilled Employment Tax Credit program. The refundable tax credits would be spread over a 10-year period in exchange for 116 of the jobs created on the new basis, according to information from Jennifer McGee, spokeswoman for RI Commerce. (The remaining jobs are contract positions and not eligible for state incentive).

Jobs eligible for state incentives would pay an average salary of $76,600, with positions including pilots, aircraft mechanics and grassroots leaders, McGee said in an email Monday.

With the recommendation of the RI Commerce Investment Committee, the proposal is now before the full RI Commerce Board of Directors at a meeting that has yet to be scheduled.

Separately, Breeze has requested $2.25 million in incentives for fiscal year 2023 to pay for destination marketing and ground operations, which must be approved by the Air Service Development Council, another RI committee. Trade, according to McGee.

As part of its Green base, Breeze plans to offer 20 non-stop routes from Green – there are currently three – and accommodate between six and eight aircraft there. Company CEO David Neeleman previously estimated that Breeze would spend $160 million to open a permanent base in Rhode Island.

Nancy Lavin is a staff writer for PBN. Contact her at [email protected]

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