In jet atomization, breakup length is the length of the continuous jet segment, before its breakup to discontinuous droplets. Hydrodynamic instability theory, implemented in CFD codes, is often complemented by semi-empirical correlations for breakup length, which may limit parametric investigations. A basic mechanistic approach to the breakup length prediction, based on a simple momentum balance between the injected jet and the aerodynamic drag force due to the surrounding gas, which complements the classic hydrodynamic instability breakup mechanism, is suggested. This model offers a simple complementing mechanistic model. It is shown that obtained results compare well with published experiments, and with the established empirical correlation of Wu and Faeth (1995). A simplified version of the model, taking into account an inviscid hydrodynamic model is shown to maintain plausibility of breakup length predictions in fuel-injection relevant conditions.