||AZUL BRAZILIAN AIRLINES
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AZL-VISIT RIO SUGAR LOAF 2012-03
Formed and started operations in 2008. Full name: Azul Brazilian Airlines (Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras) (AZL). Domestic, regional, & international, scheduled & charter, passenger & cargo, jet airplane services.
Alameda Surubiju 2010
Alphaville Industrial Barueri
Sao Paulo 06455-040, Brazil
BRAZIL (FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC OF BRAZIL) WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1822, IT COVERS AN AREA OF 8,511,965 SQ KM, ITS POPULATION IS 165 MILLION, ITS CAPITAL CITY IS BRASILIA, AND ITS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IS PORTUGESE.
May 2008: Established by Brazilian-born David Neeleman, 49-year-old, founder and former (CEO) of JetBlue Airways (JBL). Azul (Portugese for Blue). Azul is a metaphor for security, serenity, loyalty, and quality (as well as connoting flight, as the color of the sky). Azul (AZL) will have a fleet of brand-new airplanes, all with ultra-leather seats and in-flight satellite "LiveTV" (1st installation in Latin America). Initially it has the backing of $150 million from Brazilian and USA investors. Plans to offer direct flights (a relative rarity in the Brazilian travel industry) between some 25 Brazilian cities, allowing passengers to avoid congested hubs. International service may be added later. (AZL) will focus on the business (C) travel market, which accounts for 75% of air travel today.
August 2008: TRAX USA said Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) will implement its Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) solution EVO featuring advanced production, materials and technical records functionalities.
December 2008: Started operations.
January 2009: E190 (0257, PR-AYD), delivery.
March 2009: Azul (AZL) is a Brazilian low-cost regional carrier (LCC) based in Barueri linking Sao Paulo with Curtiba, Porto Alegre, Recife, and Salvador. More destinations will be added as more airplanes are delivered.
(IATA) Code: AD. (ICAO) Code: AZU (Callsign - AZUL).
Parent organization/shareholders: David Neeleman (100%).
Main Base: Sao Paulo Viracopos-Campinas International airport (VCP).
Domestic destinations: Campinas; Curitiba; Fortaleza; Manaus (by April 2009); Navegante (by April 2009); Porto Alegre; Recife; Rio de Janeiro (Santos Dumont); Salvador (Bahia); & Vitoria.
When David Neeleman started JetBlue (JBL) in 2000, convincing politicians to change the slot rules at (JFK) airport was instrumental to the carrier’s eventual success. Well, Neeleman is working the political field again, this time convincing Brazilian politicians to open Rio de Janeiro’s downtown Santos Dumont (SDU) airport to (AZL). Though some officials remain adamantly opposed, (AZL) has the support of (ANAC), the country’s aviation regulator, and won a key court battle recently. It hopes to launch Rio (SDU) flights soon.
April 2009: Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras (AZL) expects to be operating in the black by year end and is flying at >70% (ASK) capacity this month. It posted a 67% LF load factor in March, founder David Neeleman told "Bloomberg News," and currently flies 9 E190s/E195s. "People can afford to fly," Neeleman said. "They just have not been in the habit of doing it because fares have been so high in the past and service hasn't existed."
E190 (0260, PR-AYE), delivery.
May 2009: E190 (0271, PR-AZD "Passaro Azul"), delivery.
June 2009: 2 E190s (0282, PR-AZE; 0295, PR-AZF), deliveries.
October 2009: (GE) Aviation (GEC) inked a 15-year OnPoint solution agreement with Azul (AZL) covering maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of (CF34-10E) engines that power the (AZL)'s 36 E190s/E195s on firm order plus 4 on lease. The agreement is valued at $1 billion. Work will take place at the (GE) facility in Petropolis.
November 2009: Azul (AZL) seems to be doing well, generating lots of new traffic and building a network that already includes 14 cities. Natal in the Northeast will become the 15th next month.
(AZL)'s success reflects what its founder, David Neeleman (CEO) continued from his previous experience with JetBlue Airways (JBL): an emphasis on quality customer service and product with leather seats, seat back satellite televisions, refusal to overbook, assigned seating, no middle seats, additional legroom, bus connections to its key airports, a loyalty program, travel agency distribution and even interest-free deferred payment options.
However, the competition with (TAM) (TPR) and Gol (GOT) is a challenge, since thay are also well regarded for their customer service, (GOT) does not overbook either and they both dominate their main airports in Sao Paulo and Rio. Their code share partners are other advantages.
Apparently, just about anything can be turned into jet fuel. Algae, halophytes, camelina, and jatropha are all feed stocks under consideration. Now add sugar cane to that list. Azul (AZL), together with Brazilian airplane maker Embraer, (GEC) and California biotech company Amyris, announced a collaboration to evaluate the sustainability and viability of sugar cane-based biojet fuel. The group says this could culminate in a 2012 demonstration flight using one of (AZL)’s E-Jets. As with other feedstocks, the question is not whether sugar cane can be converted to jet fuel but whether it can be done cost effectively, at a significant scale and without displacing any food production. The Brazil connection makes sense: Brazil is by far the world’s largest sugar cane producer.
E190 (0329, PR-AZG) delivery.
December 2009: Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras (AZL) plans to increase passenger traffic +50% next year and "will continue to grow significantly faster than the overall market," (CEO) David Neeleman told "Dow Jones." (AZL) currently operates 14 airplanes to 16 domestic destinations and plans to add 7 planes and 3 new airports in 2010, he said, "but we could still expand much faster than that."
E190 (0330, PR-AZH "Azulcenter"), delivery.
January 2010: Azul (AZL) said it carried approximately 2.2 million passengers in its 1st year of operation ended December 15, 2009, and achieved an average load factor of 79.7% LF. It eclipsed 85% from March 2009. (AZL) now operates 14 E190s/E195s on 19 routes to 16 destinations. It is scheduled to take +7 more airplanes in 2010, another 12 in 2011, and plans to have 80 planes by 2013.
(AZL) confirmed that the Texas Pacific Group (TPG) has purchased a 10% stake in (AZL), according to "Dow Jones." Neeleman, who holds 20% of the airline, told "The Wall Street Journal" that (AZL) will be profitable this year.
(AZL) will fly a new route from Sao Paulo Campinas to Goiania, near Brasilia.
February 2010: E190 (0336, PR-AZI), delivery.
April 2010: Revenue Management Systems reached a deal with Azul (AZL) for provision of its revenue management software airRM.
July 2010: Embraer announced that David Neeleman's Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras (AZL) is the undisclosed customer for 5 E195s valued at $211 million listed in the company's firm order backlog for the 2nd quarter. (GEC) valued the (CF34) order at >$40 million.
Another new order and options include a contract from (AZL) for Steven Udvar-Hazy's Air Lease Corporation for 10 ATR 72-600s and options for 10 more. The orders from Air Lease mark the 1st time in >2 decades that ATR has received a speculative order from an operating lessor, (CEO) Filippo Bagnato confirmed.
Interestingly, Udvar-Hazy never ordered turboprops or regional jets during his nearly 4 decades running (ILFC). He said that Air Lease talked with some 16 different airlines that are interested in the ATR 72-600 series, adding that “the primary emphasis [for placing the turboprops] will be outside the USA." He expects most of the airplanes will configured in a single class.
Azul (AZL)’s deal with ATR is worth $850 million including options, with deliveries commencing in late 2011. "We will add 1 ATR per month for the next 4 years," Neeleman said, noting that he founded 4 different airlines in his life but "this is the 1st time I ordered turboprops."
The ATR 72-600’s will enable (AZL) to serve "even more cities in the vast Brazilian territory, linking smaller communities with major cities with seamless connectivity between our jets and the new ATRs," the (AZL) Chairman said. He looked at the Dash 8-Q400, but "the ATR 72-600s have a +30% better fuel burn on the same stage length. We also don’t need the [Dash 8-Q400’s] extra seats or the higher speed on the short stage length of about 500 km that we will operate the airplanes on."
E190 (378, PR-AYL "Amazonia Azul"), delivery.
October 2010: Azul (AZL) becomes the latest airline to adopt a special pink livery to raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early diagnosis. Woking jointly with Embraer and Fenmama (Federation of Philanthropic Institution in Support of Breast Health), Azul (AZL) launched the campaign by taking delivery of a new Embraer E195 (0391, PR-AYO - - SEE PHOTO - - "AZU-E195-2010-10") on October 7th painted in the standard livery style but in pink (a color that symbolizes the world wide fight against breast cancer. October is now firmly established as Breast Cancer Awareness Month) with the iconic Pink Ribbon as its symbol.
In addition to the pink exterior coloring, the special "breast cancer awareness" airplane also boasts a female only flight crew (FC) and (CA), dressed in pink uniforms.
Other airlines with dedicated rear-round pink colored airplanes include American Airlines (AAL), Delta (DAL), and Qantas Link (NJS).
November 2010: Azul (AZL) plans a new route from Belo Horizonte to the NE city of Sao Luis next month. (AZL) began with a major focus on Campinas airport near Sao Paulo but has since made Belo Horizonte a 2nd “mini-hub”. It does, however, call itself a “point-to-point carrier” that’s able to make money without big hub operations at the country’s largest airports thanks to its right-sized E190s and E195s (and soon ATRs). In a presentation at a PROS revenue management conference in Paris, (AZL)’s Marketing/Planning Head, Trey Urbahn described a vast untapped market in which only 5% of the population travels regularly by plane.
January 2011: Brazilian aviation authorities report a >20% year-on-year increase in air travel, with start-up carriers recording the biggest growth rates. Domestic travel increased +23.5% and international activity +20.4%, the civil aviation authority says. Load factors on domestic flights were 68.8% LF, up from 65.8% LF, with loads on international rates climbing to 76.4% LF from 69.2% LF.
(TAM) (TPR) remains the market-dominating carrier, with 42.8% of domestic operations, followed by GOL (GOT) at 39.5%. Each carrier posted year-on-year growth of about +16%. Low cost carrier (LCC) Azul, now the 3rd-largest carrier with 6.1% market share, experienced growth of >100%. Rival WebJet (WEB)’s growth rate was +64%, representing 5.9% market share.
Azul (AZL)'s home base at Sao Paulo Viracopos-Campinas International airport (VCP) is expanding, but downtown airports at Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are not.
(AZL) will begin flying to Iguacu Falls in March. This follows (AZL)’s big debut at Rio de Janeiro’s main airport Galeao on February 1. From there, it will fly non-stop to Campinas, Cuiaba, Joinville, and Navegantes. (AZL) named Presidente Prudente in Sao Paulo state as its newest destination.
E190 (407, PR-AYQ) and ATR 72-202QC (523, PR-AZS), deliveries.
October 2011: Azul (AZL) took delivery of the 1st ATR 72-600 to be delivered to a Latin American customer. Fast-growing (AZL) has placed orders for a total of 30 ATR 72-600s, with 10 options. In addition to the turboprops, (AZL) operates a jet fleet of Embraer E190s and E195s.
(AZL) has ordered 11 Embraer E195 jets, in an order valued at $497.2 million at list prices, Embraer (EMB) said. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2013.
The transaction increases Azul’s total E-Jet orders to 52 airplanes. In addition to the 23 E195s it already flies in a 118Y-seat single-class configuration, (AZL) also operates 10 106Y-seat E190s, Embraer (EMB) said.
(AZL) operates the largest fleet of E-Jets in South America. All airplanes are equipped with individual in-flight entertainment systems.
(AZL) (CEO) David Neeleman said, “This order underlines our belief that the E190 and E195 are the right airplanes for (AZL)’s growing network within Brazil. This additional capacity will support profitable growth, as well as our core mission of providing safe, comfortable and affordable air transportation in the country.”
ATR 72-202 (193, PR-AZZ "Azulmania") and ATR 72-600 (966, PR-ATR "Azul Tango Romeo"), ex-(F-WWLQ).
December 2011: Azul (AZL) continues to spread its service deeper into untapped markets. In February, it will start flights from Campinas and Porto Alegre to Chapeco, which is a large agribusiness center, using E190/E195s.
(BOC) Aviation (SIL) entered into a sale and leaseback transaction for 4 new Embraer E195s, the lessor's 1st such transaction involving Embraer airplanes. The E195s are on long-term lease to Brazil's Azul (AZL). 2 have been delivered and 2 are scheduled for delivery by the 2012 2nd quarter.
January 2012: Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AZL) will operate 300 extra flights between February 20 - 27, the peak period of the carnival season in Brazil.
From its main hubs at Campinas Viracopos (VCP) and Belo Horizonte Confins (CNF), (AZL) is expected to increase frequencies to its top 10 carnival-related destinations, including Rio de Janeiro, Porto Seguro, Salvador, Ilhéus, Maceió, Natal, Fortaleza, Recife, Florianópolis, and Navegantes. (AZL) is awaiting approval from (ANAC), the Brazilian Civil Aviation Agency.
Communications, Brand & Pproduct Director Gianfranco Beting said (AZL) has also applied for 2 new regular destinations (Montes Claros and Ribeirão Preto) out of its (CNF) base and has asked to increase frequencies out of (CNF).
On March 1, (AZL) expects to implement its 3rd daily frequency to Londrina, 5th to Navegantes, 5th to Vitória, and 8th to Curitiba.
(AZL) was founded in Brazil by David Neeleman (founder of JetBlue (JBL)) in 2008, and operates some 350 daily flights, serving 41 domestic destinations with a fleet of 34 Embraer E190s and E195s, 8 ATR 72-200s and 1 ATR 72-600.
(AZL) will implement its 3rd daily frequency to Londrina, 5th to Navegantes, 5th to Vitória, and 8th to Curitiba on March 1.
February 2012: Azul (AZL) has launched 3 new routes, adding 2 new destinations to its network. From its main base at Campinas-Viracopos (VCP) it has introduced 2x-daily flights to Bauru (JTC) using ATR 72s, and 2x-daily flights to Londrina (LDB) using E190s. The Londrina route is already served by Trip (TIB) with 2x-daily flights. Last year, passenger numbers at Londrina airport rose by +31.3% to 961,902 making it 1 of the fastest-growing airports in Latin America. (AZL) has also decided to enter the very competitive Brasilia (BSB) to Belo Horizonte (CNF) market. (AZL) is starting with 18x-weekly departures using an E190 but is competing against (GOL) (GOT) (42x-weekly departures), (TAM) (TPR) (34x-), WebJet (WEB) (12x-) and Avianca Brazil (ONE) (7x-).
(AZL) has launched a regional route between 2 state capitals in the western, inner part of Brazil. As of February 27, (AZL) flies 6x-weekly between Campo Grande (CGR), the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul, and Cuiabá (CGB), capital of Mato Grosso. The 550 km route is operated with (AZL)’s 118-seat E195 airplanes, competing with Avianca Brazil (ONE)’s 2x-daily and GOL (GOT)’s daily flights as well as Trip (TIB)’s 5x-weekly operations. The same day, (AZL) also connected Maringá (MGF) in the south of the country with Campo Grande, a route also operated 6x-weekly with the same airplane type. Competition comes from Trip (TIB)’s also 6x-weekly.
Embraer (EMB) announced at the Singapore Airshow that Azul (AZL) has firmed options for 10 single-class E195 airplanes. The order, valued at approximately $478 million at list prices, brings its E-Jet fleet to 67.
(AZL) will take delivery of the airplanes in 2013 - 2014, and follows an October 2011 order for 11 E195s.
"The Brazilian market is growing unbelievably fast," Embraer (EMB) President Commercial Aviation Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva said, adding that it is also "very much committed to the Asian market. We are growing in Asia. In 10 years, we have sold >130 airplanes in the region."
2 ATR 72-600s (988, PR-ATG "Planeta Azul;" 991, PR-ATH), ex-(F-WWLO; & F-WWLQ), deliveries.
April 2012: Azul (AZL) has returned its 1st 2 of 8 ATR 72-202s (450, PR-AZT; and 352, PR-AZV) as the airplanes are gradually being replaced by new ATR 72-600s.
May 2012: Brazilian carriers Azul (AZL) and Trip (TIB) announced plans to merge, a move that would create an airline with about a 15% market share in Brazil, behind only dominant players (TAM) (TPR) and (GOL) GOT.
"A 3rd force in Brazilian aviation is being born," Trip (TIB) Chairman Renan Chieppe told reporters in Sao Paulo, according to multiple media reports. (AZL) Founder & (CEO) David Neeleman will run the combined company, which will be two-thirds controlled by (AZL). The 2 carriers themselves are expected to be merged eventually operating as a single carrier but possibly retaining the 2 brands.
The airlines operate >110 airplanes combined, all either Embraer (EMB) regional jets or ATR turboprops. (AZL) currently operates 31 E195s, 10 E190s, 7 ATR 72-600s and 6 ATR 72-200s. (TIB) operates 10 E190s, 9 E175s, 5 ATR 72-600s, 15 ATR 72-500s, 12 ATR 42-500s, 10 ATR 42-300s and 1 ERJ-120. The 2 carriers operate a total of 116 regional airplanes right now and will clearly be the #3 on the Brazilian domestic market with a 15% market share. The merger is subject to the approval of relevant Brazilian authorities.
(AZL) started a new domestic route in Brazil from Vitoria to Recife.
June 2012: Azul (AZL) launched an Embraer E195 demonstration flight June 19 using a 50:50 blend of conventional jet fuel and (AMJ) 700, a renewable fuel produced from the fermentation of Brazilian sugarcane.
The 57-minute flight (which included air transport authorities, industry experts and journalists) flew out of Viracopos-Campinas International Airport (VCP) to Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) in Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting the United Nations (UN) Conference for Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
The demonstration flight was part of the Azul+Verde (meaning a greener blue in Portuguese) Renewable Jet Fuel project, which was jointly developed with Embraer (EMB), (GEC) and Amyris Inc from November 2009.
According to Embraer (EMB), (AMJ) 700 fuel is made using modified micro-organisms that function as living factories, converting sugar into pure renewable hydrocarbon. Such a process results in a renewable jet fuel that, once approved, will meet the most rigorous requirements of the aviation industry as well as the American Society for Testing & Materials.
Amyris (CEO) Paulo Diniz said the company is establishing its 1st production plant facility in Brazil (scheduled to open in the fourth quarter) to produce 50 million tonnes per year, with 10% of the estimated output designed for the local market.
Azul (AZL) Communication, Brand & Product Director, Gianfranco Beting said that Amyris’ renewable jet fuel (AMJ) 700 is compliant with Jet A/A-1 fuel specifications and could reduce its carbon footprint by up to -82%, according to a study developed in Brazil by the Institute for International Trade Negotiations.
Azul (AZL)’s Institutional Relations Director, Adalberto Febeliano said the price of this biofuel is estimated to float around the current price of kerosene fuel. Diniz said the goal is to make it competitive while having less impact on the environment.
It is now unclear how long it will take to acquire American Society of Testing and Materials’ certification, but production in Brazil is not seen as a problem. “This will be a new option for sugar cane producers, opening up new business opportunities,” Febeliano said, adding, even though (AZL) and (EMB) are testing different biofuel options, sugar cane-derived biofuel seems to present a clear advantage. “It’s a higher level of productivity,” he said.
Brazilian domestic traffic measured by (RPK)s grew +5.7% year-over-year in May, against a +5% growth in (ASK)s, according the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANCA). Industry load factor grew +0.7% point to 67.6% LF.
The (RPK)s and (ASK)s for May reached levels not seen since 2000, (ANCA) said.
Azul (AZL) achieved the highest individual load factor at 78% LF, closely followed by Avianca (AVI) with 75.9% LF. (AVI)’s (RPK)s grew +83%, followed by (TRIP) (TIB) at 66%. Market leader, (TAM) (TPR) faced a -7.9% decrease in (RPK)s, while 2nd-ranked (GOL) (GOT) posted a +0.85% growth, each keeping a 38.7% and a 33.8% market share, respectively. (AVI) also led the way in market share growth, up +73.2%, to a +5.1% market share, followed by Trip (TIB) with a +53% increase to 4.7% market share.
The accumulated January - May results show the industry grew +6.5% in domestic (RPK)s in the period, while (ASK)s increased +9.3%. The 2 major carriers, (TAM) (TPR) and (GOL) (GOT), faced 8.2% and 8.7% market share decrease, respectively, in the 5 1st months of this year.
(TAM) (TPR) and (GOL) (GOT), the only Brazilian carriers that operate international scheduled flights, in May posted 91.7% and 8.3% market share in this sector, respectively, the 1st achieving a +2.5% increase in (RPK)s and the 2nd decreasing -9.6%. (TAM) (TPR) achieved 82.9% LF load factor, against (GOL) (GOT)’s 56.3% LF. Industry load factor was 79.8% LF, up +0.7% point, the best May result for Brazilian carriers operating in the international market, since the year 2000.
Brazilian airlines as a whole faced a -2.7% decrease in international (RPK)s in May, against a -3.4% decrease in (ASK)s.
July 2012: (GE) Aviation (GEC) has a 15 year, $600 million contract with Azul (AZL) to maintain 42 (CFM34-10E)s for its E190s under its OnPoint solutions program.
(GE) is supporting Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras' (Azul) (AZL) in obtaining regulatory authorization to fly Required Navigation Performance - Authorization Required (RNP AR) flight procedures in its fleet of Embraer E190/E195 airplanes. Upon approval, (AZL) the airline will become 1 of the 1st in Brazil permitted to fly (RNP AR), improving airport accessibility and reducing operational costs through reduced fuel burn and flight delays.
E190-200AR (0471, PR-AYX "Azul e VERDE;" 2 ATR 72-600s (1027, PR-ATQ; 1033, PR-ATU), ex-(F-WWLT & F-WWER).
September 2012: Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AZL) is planning to continue to operate under its name after the merger with Trip Linhas Aéreas (TIB). The 2 carriers are expected to shortly start code share operations ahead of a full merger, once regulatory approval has been gained. This is currently not expected before the end of the year.
(AZL) has recently celebrated its 20 millionth passenger since it launched, and as it proceeds with its 2nd half, it has had some problems with new taxes and fees on connecting traffic. Now merged with Trip (TIB), it does serve 100 cities throughout Brazil, many of them too small for (TAM) (TPR) and (GOL) GOT to compete with their A320S and 737s.
ATR 72-600 (1043, PR-ATV), sold to (GEF) on delivery and leased back.
October 2012: ERJ-200AR (0575, PR-AXI "Piloto Azul") and ATR 72-600 (10465, PR-ATW "Horizonte Azul), deliveries.
November 2012: Brazilian carriers Azul (AZL) and Trip (TIB) began code sharing in September, taking a key step towards completing a merger between the 2 airlines 1st unveiled 6 months ago.
The code share agreement will allow (AZL) and (TIB) to jointly offer >100 destinations to customers. (AZL) will market flights on both carriers, even though (TIB) will continue ticket sales through its existing channels. This comes as the 2 airlines move towards using Azul (AZL) as the merged carrier's single brand. (TIB)'s brand will be dropped but the merged carrier's new color scheme will resemble (TIB)'s.
The 2 carriers 1st announced intentions to merge in May, creating an airline with a 15% share of domestic passenger traffic in Brazil. The merger is still awaiting final approval from Brazilian authorities, but is expected by year-end.
Azul (AZL) is already Brazil's 3rd-largest carrier behind (TAM) (TPR) and (GOL) (GOT). The merger will result in a holding company, Azul Trip SA, in which (AZL) will hold two-thirds of the shares and Trip (TIB) the remainder. (AZL) Founder David Neeleman will be (CEO) of the new holding company.
The fast-growing carriers are both based in Campinas in Sao Paulo state, which will help to make the merger less complex. (AZL) and (TIB) also operate similar airplanes; the 2 airlines will operate a combined fleet of >115 Embraer regional jets and ATR turboprops by the end of the year.
Together, they will have a combined network of >300 routes with >830 daily flights. These represent at least 29% of total daily departures in Brazil, the carriers have said. The 2 airlines are expected to have combined revenues of >R4 billion/$1.97 billion by the end of 2012.
The carriers point to current networks overlapping in only 15% of the markets they serve, giving the combined carrier plenty of room to expand. On the radar are medium-sized cities and destinations that can be served more efficiently with their combined fleet.
"We have the right airplane size for growth, which is coming from cities with limited air service. We have a fleet that goes up to a hundred-plus seats, and we are better sized for this," says Azul Trip Director of Branding, Product & Communications, Gianfranco Beting.
Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AZL) and Trip Linhas Aéreas (TIB) have now received final approval from the Brazilian civil aviation regulator (ANAC) to proceed with their planned full merger of both carriers under the "Azul" name. The carriers will now go ahead and plan the merger before announcing a target date to fully absorb (TIB) into (AZL). (TIB)'s outstanding 3 E190 orders have been converted to E195s. The combined carrier's Embraer regional jets fleet currently consists of 38 E195s, 22 E190s and 9 E175s making it the 2nd biggest operator of the E170/E190 family jets behind Republic Airlines ((IATA) Code (YX), based at Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)).
(AZL) has retired its last ATR 72-200 (365, PR-AZY) and has withdrawn the airplane from scheduled operations. (AZL) had temporarily leased 8 ATR 72-200s as an intermediate solution until new ATR 72-600s were available. It has already taken 15 ATR 72-600s since 2011 and is currently the world's largest operator of the type.
See video on Copacabana Beach, Rio - -
January 2013: Domestic (RPK) traffic growth in Brazil slowed to +6.8% in 2012, after growth of +15.9% in 2011 and +23.5% in 2010, and will likely remain in the single digits in 2013, as the country’s 2 major carriers continue to reduce capacity in response to challenging market conditions. But Brazil’s 2 other main domestic players, the new Azul (AZL)-Trip (TIB) group and Avianca Brazil (ONE), will continue to expand and take market share away from the leading (TAM) (TPR) and Gol (GOT) groups.
(AZL)/(TIB) and (ONE) have each seen market share gains of between +2% and +3% over the last year. Their gains have come at the expense of Gol (GOT), which has been cutting capacity and struggling financially after acquiring smaller low-cost carrier (LCC), Webjet (WEB). (GOT) saw its share of the domestic market slip by about -4% in 2012, while (TAM) (TPR) has been able to keep its share relatively stable despite reducing capacity by lifting its load factors.
The São Paulo government has launched a bid for the construction of a much-anticipated rail link between downtown São Paulo and São Paulo-Guarulhos Airport. The rail link is estimated to open by the end of 2014. São Paulo-Guarulhos Airport reported 30 million boarding passengers in 2011.
The rail link will extend the São Paulo existing railway system 11 km/6.1 miles. Local observers said residents are unhappy the rail line will not provide exclusive services for airport passengers, as it mainly will serve residents of the metropolitan area of São Paulo. It will board an estimated 120,000 passengers daily between intermediate train stations.
Another concern is that, contrary to the original project, the airport train station will not be built adjacent to terminals 1 and 2, allowing passengers to walk in into the terminals, but will be 2 km away by terminal 4.
Airport Manager Invepar said it will provide dedicated, free exclusive rail service between the train station and terminals 1 and 2. Construction of the rail link will start in the 1st half of 2013.
February 2013: Embraer (EMB), Azul (AZL) and Trip Linhas Aéreas (TIB) have signed a renewal and expansion contract for the Pool services, for support on >350 spare parts and all repairable components of the hydraulic, mechanical, pneumatic, electronic and propulsion systems for their E-Jets. The renewal means the $400 million agreement will be extended until 2020.
Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras ((IATA) Code: AD, based at Campinas Viracopos (VCP)) (AZL) and its sister carrier Trip Linhas Aéreas ((IATA) Code: T4, based at Campinas Viracopos (VCP)) (TIB) have come one step closer to a full merger completing the migration of all Trip (TIB) flights to Azul (AZL)'s passenger servicing system. All (TIB) flights are now also operated under (AZL)'s AD carrier code with the 2 carriers offering approximately 850 daily departures on average. Jointly, they operate a fleet of 40 E195s, 22 E190s, 8 E175s, 23 ATR 72-600s, 14 ATR 72-500s, 1 ATR 72-200, 10 ATR 42-500s and 5 ATR 42-300s.
March 2013: Brazil’s antitrust agency, (CADE) has approved the merger between Azul (AZL) and TRIP Linhas Aereas (TIB). The new joint carrier will become the 3rd largest in Brazil after market leaders (TAM) Airlines (TPR) and (GOL) (GOT).
(AZL) and (TIB) operate a combined fleet of 118 airplanes and fly to 102 domestic destinations. According to the National Civil Aviation Agency, the 2 carriers make up 16.4% of Brazil’s domestic market share. (CADE) is requiring (TIB) and (TPR) to cease their code share agreement, and that (AZL) and (TIB) operate at least 85% of their joint slots at Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont Airport.
The 2 airlines announced their intent to merge in May 2012. (AZL)’s Founder & (CEO) David Neeleman told local media the airline is now working to enhance the route network, “increasing new flights, routes and frequencies in all capital cities and regions” of Brazil.
April 2013: Azul (AZL) started flying on the 900 km route from São Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) to Porto Alegre (POA), the capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, on April 27. A schedule of 19 weekly flights is operated on the route using its E195s. (TAM) (TPR) (49 weekly flights), GOL (GOT) (44) and Avianca Brazil (ONE) (21) provide intense competition on the route, which is Azul (AZL)’s 13th from the São Paulo airport. It is (AZL)’s 11th route from Porto Alegre, which handled almost 8.3 million passengers in 2012, making it Brazil’s 9th busiest airport.
June 2013: ATR 72-600 (1088, PR-AQI "E Azul, E Azul"), ex-(F-WWEZ), delivery.
July 2013: Avianca Colombia (AVI) owner, Germán Efromovich, has reportedly applied for a EUR345million loan from Brazil's 2nd largest state bank, Caixa Económica Federal, which the Brazilian press speculate could be used to acquire a stake in (TAP) Portugal. While Mr Efromovich confirmed the funding application to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, he refused to comment on the deal which, if approved, would be used to cover (TAP)'s estimated EUR1billion debt and which Lisbon wants any potential buyer to assume. The report further claims that, with or without the loan, Mr Efromovich will push ahead with the bid and has already met with Portuguese government officials. However, to avoid being forced to take any deal offered to it, Lisbon is understood to want more than one bidder. jetBlue Airways (JBL) Founder and current Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AZL) (CEO) David Neeleman, has also been rumored to be interested in acquiring a stake in (TAP), though he has vehemently denied all such reports.
August 2013: Azul (AZL) Brazilian Airlines started 2x-daily, Porto Alegre - Joinville service.
October 2013: See video - - "BRAZIL BASE JUMPING NEAR RIO" - -
December 2013: Azul (AZL) is set to become the 1st scheduled operator to serve the east Brazilian city of Paulo Afonso when it launches a 3x-weekly service to neighboring Salvador on December 16, 2013. The flights will operate on board 1 of (AZL)'s 46 ATR 72-500/-600s. Inaugurated in 1972, since 1980 the airfield has been run by the Brazilian airport management parastatal, Empresa Brasileira de Infraestrutura Aeroportuária, also known as Infraero.
(AZUL) (AZL) is set to become the 1st scheduled carrier to serve Três Lagoas, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil with effect from January 15, 2014. Schedule data shows the airfield's 1st flights as being 2x-daily to Campinas Viracopos with ATR 72-500s and ATR 72-600s, though further flights to Barcelos, Boa Vista, RR, Parintins, Tefe, and Tabatinga are also planned.
(AZL) currently operates 131 airplanes and serves 1 country, 104 destinations, on 230 routes and 661 daily flights.
January 2014: Azul Airlines (AZL), the Brazilian domestic low-cost carrier (LCC), launched new domestic services from Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) to Navegantes (NVT) on December 23rd. The 441 km sector will be operated 12x-weekly, utilizing (AZL)’s 68Y-seat ATR 72s. (AZL)’s 3rd route to Navegantes will face direct competition from (GOL) (GOT)’s 3x-weekly services.
(AZL) expanded its domestic network with the addition of 12x-weekly flights from Sao Paulo Viracopos (VCP) to Três Lagoas (TJL). (AZL)’s operations on the 533 km route began on January 15th using its 70Y-seat ATR 72s. No other carrier connects these 2 airports with non-stop flights.
Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) has approved +1,973 extra flights between June 6 and July 20 to cover the expected huge increase in demand during the (FIFA) World Cup in Brazil.
The flights will be operated by Brazil’s 4 major airlines ((TAM) (TPR), GOL (GOT), Azul (AZL) and Avianca (AVI)) and include operations into 25 airports in the 12 cities staging matches or up to 200 km from the stadiums. Most are domestic flights.
City pairs to get the greatest number of extra flights are São Paulo - Brasília (288), Campinas/Viracopos - Rio de Janeiro/Santos Dumont (284), São Paulo - Fortaleza (205) and São Paulo - Recife (59). The Rio de Janeiro - Buenos Aires international city pair will get 262 extra flights.
(ANAC) Director President, Marcelo Guaranys told local media it is up to airlines to activate the approved extra flights. A spokesperson for the Brazilian Association of Airlines said the carriers must gradually reorganize their respective route networks and adjust the new flights accordingly, beginning in the next few weeks, and open some of the flights for sale.
Guaranys said the (ANAC) is closely monitoring the airlines to avoid abusive increases in air fares, as there have already been reports of increases in domestic fares of up to +10 times, in some cases. In response to media criticism, Azul (AZL) announced earlier this month it is limiting fares during the period to a maximum of R$999/$422 per one-way ticket, including connecting flights. (CEO) David Neeleman told local media this represents a R$20 million cost for the airline, which expects to face a -20% decrease in business traffic from June 12 to July 13. A few days later, Avianca (AVI) followed suit. (TAM)/(TPR) and (GOL)/(GOT) have not announced any specific measures so far.
February 2014: Azul Airlines (AZL), the Brazilian domestic low-cost carrier (LCC), has added 2 further points to its domestic network. Campina Grande (CPV) and Petrolina (PNZ) are now both served from Belo Horizonte (CNF) utilizing its 106Y-seat E190s. The service, which began on February 6th, operates as a triangle ((CNF) - (CPV) - (PNZ) - (CNF)) resulting in both destinations being served non-stop in one direction, with an intermediate stop in the other direction.
Route Network Update for Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AZL):
Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras ((IATA) Code: AD, based at Campinas Viracopos) network changes:
New route: Campo Grande - São Paulo Guarulhos starting February 7, 2014.
New route: Maraba - Tucuruí starting February 6, 2014.
New route: São Paulo Guarulhos - Campo Grande starting February 6, 2014.
Cabo Frio - Campinas Viracopos route has been suspended until March 9, 2014.
Campinas Viracopos - Cabo Frio route has been suspended until March 9, 2014.
Belém - Tucuruí route was terminated on February 5, 2014 (with stop in Maraba).
Campos - Macaé route will be terminated on February 22, 2014.
Ilheus - Vitória route was terminated on February 5, 2014.
Macaé - Campos route will be terminated on February 23, 2014.
Recife - Brasilia route was terminated on February 1, 2014 (with stop in São Paulo Guarulhos).
Vitória - Ilheus route was terminated on February 5, 2014.
Caldas Novas - Goiania route has been cancelled.
April 2014: Azul (AZL) announced it has ordered 5 Airbus A350-900s and 6 A330-200s to be leased from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILF).
(AZL) said it will use the airplanes to launch international flights by early 2015. Exact routes were not announced, but (AZL) said it will operate flights to the USA from São Paulo Campinas Airport. The A330s will begin delivery to (AZL) in 2015, while A350 deliveries are slated to start in 2017. All 11 Airbus (EDS) airplanes on order will have Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 772B-60) & (TRENT XWB) engines.
The wide body order marks a major departure from the Brazilian domestic market, regional airplane-based business model Azul (AZL) has operated under since (AZL) launched in December 2008. Its current fleet is comprised entirely of regional airplanes, including 80 Embraer E-Jets and 56 ATR turboprops.
(AZL)'s decision to add wide body jets to its fleet was hardly surprising given its rapid expansion in recent years, as it went from an airline with just 5 airplanes, 5 years ago, to become the South American country's 3rd biggest airline. (AZL) plans to acquire these jets to help it launch its 1st international service to the USA from a new terminal at its base of Viracopos-Campinas airport by early 2015. (AZL) said that it will announce its USA gateways later this year.
Azul (AZL) (CEO) David Neeleman said “Our customers have been asking for this, and now we look forward to providing them with our superior service on international flights, just as we have been doing today on our 880 daily domestic departures.”
May 2014: Azul Airlines (AZL), the 3rd largest operator in Brazil according to weekly seat capacity, expanded its domestic network with 5 new routes on April 26th, all of which are operated weekly (Sundays), using its 118Y-seat E195s. With the longest route being the 1,994 km sector from Ribeirao Preto (RAO) to Recife (REC), and the shortest being inaugurated from Ribeirao Preto (RAO) to Sao Jose do Rio Preto (SJP), the low-cost carrier (LCC) will face competition only on the service to Sao Jose do Rio Preto from Passaredo Airlines (PDO)’s 6x-weekly flights.
Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras ((IATA) Code: AD, based at Campinas Viracopos) (AZL) will add a 1st A330-243 (527), to its fleet shortly. The twinjet, formerly (A9C-KG) with Gulf Air (GUL), is currently in storage at Lake Charles Chennault in the USA, and is part of a lease agreement with the International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) (ILF) entailing 5 Airbus A350-900s and 3 A330-243s.
(AZL) will deploy the airplane on its maiden longhaul international flights to the USA later in the year.
With the recent completion of its merger with Trip Linhas Aéreas (TIV), (AZL) is now the largest operator of Avions de Transport Régional (Toulouse Blagnac) turboprops in the world with 10 ATR 42s and 48 ATR 72s. It is also a prominent operator of Embraer (EMB) (São José dos Campos) jet airplanes employing 22 E190s and 54 E195s.
See video "RIO AND SURROUNDING AREA" - -
July 2014: Embraer (EMB) announced at the Farnborough Airshow that Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) has signed a letter of intent (LOI) for 30 firm orders for the E195 E2 jets, becoming the launch customer for the type. The (LOI) includes 20 additional purchase rights. The firm order, which is valued at $3.1 billion at current list prices, is expected to be completed by this year’s 4th quarter. Currently, (AZL) has 82 E-Jets in service and another 11 on order.
The E2 was launched last June at the Paris Air Show. The E195-E2 is scheduled to enter service in the 1st half of 2019.
August 2014: Azul Airlines (AZL), the 3rd largest operator in Brazil, expanded its domestic network from Sao Paulo Viracopos (VCP), commencing operations on the 484 km sector to Patos de Mina (POJ) on August 8th. The link to the city, located in the state of Minas Gerais will be operated 3x-weekly, utilizing the low-cost carrier (LCC)’s 47-seat ATR 42s. No other airline serves this airport pair.
(AZL) has been given the go-ahead by the Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil - (ANAC)) to commence flights to the USA later this year. According to a Brazilian government gazette, (AZL) has been allocated 18x-weekly frequencies as per the country's bilateral air service agreement with the USA. In terms of paperwork, all that remains is for the USA Department of Transportation (DoT) to issue Azul (AZL) a foreign air carrier permit and route authorization.
As reported earlier this year, Azul (AZL) is planning to use its fleet of A330-200s to offer Campinas Viracopos to Fort Lauderdale International and Orlando International flights from December with New York (JFK) flights to follow later on in summer 2015.
However, the move has not gone unnoticed by its foreign rivals with American Airlines (AAL) responding with 767-300ER flights from New York and Miami International to Campinas Viracopos.
Commenting on (AAL)'s announcement, (AZL)'s Director of Marketing Gianfranco Beting, labelled (AAL) "relentless." "(AAL) is a relentless competitor. They do not go into any game to lose. This is good and makes us stronger to compete," he told the "Folha de S Paulo" newspaper.
Analysts have speculated that (AZL)'s choice of Fort Lauderdale and Orlando are part of a broader plan to partner USA budget carrier, JetBlue Airways (JBL), which maintains an extensive presence at both airports. However, (JBL) Founder and current (AZL) (CEO) David Neeleman has since rejected the reports as baseless. "We are studying our options. Part of the game plan is to have a partner, but we will only announce it when the time is right," he said.
(AZL) is set to commence its 1st international services on December 1 with a daily Campinas Viracopos to Fort Lauderdale International service. According to a filing with the Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil - (ANAC)), Azul (AZL) has also asked to operate a daily, Campinas Viracopos to Orlando International flight, effective December 15. Both routes operate on board an A330-200.
Azul (AZL) said the Fort Lauderdale flights will depart in the evenings, while the Orlando departures will leave in the morning, to give passengers 2 options for flights to the USA. At Viracopos-Campinas, (AZL) passengers arriving from the USA will be able to connect to 50 cities in Brazil through >150 daily flights.
A 3rd route (to New York (JFK)) is due to launch later next year.
A330-243 (532, PR-AIV), ex-(EI-FFR), AerCap (DEA) leased, and ATR 72-600 (1166, PR-AQQ), (DAE) Capital leased.
September 2014: Azul Airlines (AZL), which reported +32% growth in passenger numbers in 2013, expanded its domestic network from Sao Paulo Viracopos (VCP), commencing operations on the 1,365 km sector to Valenca (VAL) on August 30th. The link to the largest city in the Dendê Coast will be operated weekly (Saturdays), utilizing the low-cost carrier (LCC)’s 106-seat E190s. No other airline serves this airport pair.
See video on Helicopter Ride Over Rio - -
October 2014: SEE VIDEO OF A UNIQUE JOB IN RIO DE JANEIRO - -
November 2014: News Item A-1: Azul Airlines (AZL), which reported +32% growth in passenger numbers in 2013, expanded its domestic network from Brasilia (BSB) on November 7th, commencing operations on the 1,318 km sector to Teresina (THE). The link to the capital and most populous municipality in the Brazilian state of Piauí, will be served 6x-weekly (except Saturdays), utilizing its 118Y-seat E195s. Azul (AZL)’s 6th route to Teresina will face direct competition from GOL (GOT)’s 3x-daily services and (TPR)’s 13x-weekly flights.
News Item A-2: Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) begins daily service from its hub at São Paulo’s Viracopos/Campinas International Airport (VCP) to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 2. This is (AZL)’s 1st service to the USA. (AZL) then begins daily, (VCP) - Orlando service on December 15. Azul (AZL) has just completed a new $1.5 billion terminal at Campinas airport.
News Item A-3: Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes (GOT) (CEO) Paulo Kakinoff has hailed a recent change in Brazilian legislation amending the limit on foreign shareholdings in local airlines from 20% to 49%. Kakinoff labelled the change in position "welcome" and a "surprise."
The move will allow Gol (GOT) as well as other local operators, to attract much needed foreign capital critical in their fleet and route expansion strategies. (GOT) already counts Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Air France (AFA) - (KLM) Royal Dutch Airlines among its shareholders with 6.1% and 1.5% stakes, respectively.
In contrast to (GOT), Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AZL), Brazil's most prolific domestic operator, has shrugged off the amendment with (CEO) & Founder David Neeleman stating that as his airline is healthy, it has no need for foreign investment for the moment. However, were it in need of additional funding, Neeleman said it would pursue an Initial Public Offering (IPO) as its most preferred option.
December 2014: News Item A-1: Azul Airlines (AZL), which reported +32% growth in passenger numbers in 2013, increased its offering with the addition of 2 new routes on December 1st. Interestingly, (AZL), the low-cost carrier (LCC) introduced its 1st international link with the addition of daily, 272-seat A330-200 flights from its Sao Paulo Viracopos (VCP) base to Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL), a sector not served by any other airline. In addition, Azul (AZL) started six weekly flights on the 1,944 km sector from Brasilia (BSB) to Manaus (MAO), using its 118-seat E195s. The domestic route will face direct competition from (TAM) Airlines (TPR)’s 25x-weekly flights and (GOL) (GOT)’s 2x-daily services.
Azul Airlines (AZL), which on December 1st introduced its 1st international service with flights to Fort Lauderdale, continued to expand its presence in the USA with the addition of its 2nd route on December 15th, when it began daily flights between its Sao Paulo Viracopos (VCP) hub and Orlando, Florida (MCO). The 6,772 km sector, which is not served by any other operator, will be flown by (AZL)’s 272-seat A330-243s.
News Item A-2: Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) has signed a purchase agreement for 35 (CFM)-powered A320neo family airplanes and will lease a further 28 for long-haul domestic and high-density routes.
The order comes on the eve of Azul (AZL)’s USA launch, with (AZL) poised to begin daily flights from São Paulo’s Viracopos/Campinas International Airport to Fort Lauderdale on December 2.
“Azul (AZL) will soon offer even more seats on our longer-haul flights, allowing us to reduce operating costs. In addition to its market-leading economics, which will allow (AZL) to stimulate new demand, the A320neo is also a perfect complement to our E-Jet fleet, giving us additional seats and capacity that can be dedicated to strategic projects like TudoAzul, Azul Viagens and Azul Cargo,” Azul (CEO) & Founder, David Neeleman said.
(AZL) will use the type for routes including Campinas - Salvador and Campinas - Recife.
(AZL) announced its plans to fly long-haul in April. It is due to take 12 leased Airbus wide bodies, comprising 7 Airbus A330-200s, followed by 5 Rolls-Royce (RRC)-powered A350-900s. It is also the launch customer for Embraer’s E195 E2.
February 2015: Azul Airlines (AZL) increased its domestic offering with the addition of 8 routes from Belo Horizonte (CNF), Presidente Prudente (PPB) and Uberlandia (UDI) at the beginning of February. With the longest sector being the 2,351 km sector from Presidente Prudente (PPB) to Recife (REC), and the shortest being inaugurated from Presidente Prudente (PPB) to Londrina (LDB) at 140 km, (AZL) will face no competition on any of the 8 new additions. Interestingly, the average weekly frequency across the 8 new routes is 1.6.
Azul Airlines (AZL) increased its domestic offering with the addition of a new service between Curitiba (CWB) and Passo Fundo (PFB) on February 20th. The 435 km sector to the city located in the north of the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul will be served 6x-weekly, utilizing (AZL)’s 68Y-seat ATR 72s. This is (AZL)’s 2nd route to Passo Fundo, as it is already operating 19x-weekly from Sao Paulo Viracopos. No other carrier serves this airport pair.
April 2015: ATR and Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) have renewed a maintenance agreement under which (ATR) will provide full aftermarket support for (AZL)’s fleet of nearly 60 ATR airplanes.
The accord, originally signed in 2010, has been extended for +5 more years and expanded to include (AZL) gaining access to a pool of ATR spare parts, the manufacturer will now maintain in Brazil. The renewal, valued by ATR at $85 million, was inked at the Aviation Week (MRO) Americas conference in Miami.
(AZL), the world’s largest operator of ATR turboprops, will this year phase out its 4 remaining ATR 72-500s and by 2016 all of its ATR airplanes will be ATR 72-600s. ATR Senior VP Product Support & Services, Lillian Brayle said the manufacturer plans to develop a network of ATR-approved maintenance providers in Brazil. It will also open a spare parts warehouse in São Paulo in partnership with Helibras to which (AZL) will have access.
Brayle said 30% of ATR airplanes globally are now covered by long-term maintenance contracts with the manufacturer, including 65% of ATR 72-600s.
May 2015: Azul Airlines (AZL) has finalized an order with Embraer (EMB) for 30 firm orders for the E195 E2 jet, previously announced at the 2014 Farnborough Airshow, where (AZL) was announced as the launch customer for the type. The contract also includes an additional 20 purchase rights for the same model, bringing the total potential order up to 50 E195 E2 jets.
According to Embraer (EMB), the E2 order is valued at $3.2 billion. 1st delivery is scheduled for the 2nd quarter of 2020.
(AZL) (CEO) David Neeleman said, “The E2 will be the most advanced airplane in its category, providing a savings on fuel burn >+20% higher than the current model. That will be fundamental for maintaining our competitive fares and for growing in the domestic market.”
Currently, (AZL) has a total of 82 E-Jets in service and another 6 E195s on order. With this firm order from (AZL), the E-Jets E2 backlog reaches 242 firm orders, plus 348 options and purchase rights.
The 1st delivery of an E-Jets E2 (the E190 E2) is planned for the 1st half of 2018. The E195 E2 is scheduled to enter service in 2019 and the E175 E2 in 2020.
Embraer (EMB) said the E-Jets E2s will be powered by Pratt & Whitney (PRW) PurePower Geared Turbofan high by-pass ratio engines (PW1700G) on the E175 E2, (PW1900G) on the E190 E2 and E195 E2). “Combined with new aerodynamically advanced wings, full fly-by-wire flight controls, and improvements to other systems, the E2s will deliver significant reductions in fuel burn, maintenance costs, emissions and external noise,” Embraer (EMB) said.
ATR 72-600 (1245, PR-AKA "E AZUL"), ex-(F-WWEU), delivery
June 2015: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) will spend $100 million to acquire a 5% stake in Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL), and the 2 carriers have entered into a strategic partnership that will include code sharing and reciprocal loyalty program benefits.
Subject to government approval, (UAL) plans to place its code on (AZL) flights from São Paulo Guarulhos “to key destinations throughout Brazil.” (UAL) will also place its code on (AZL)’s Airbus A330 flights from São Paulo Campinas to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (AZL) will place its code on “(UAL) routes throughout North America and the Caribbean.” (UAL) currently operates daily flights to Brazil from Chicago O’Hare, Houston Intercontinental, Newark, and Washington Dulles.
The announcement comes the same week the Star (SAL) Alliance, of which (UAL) is a founding member, confirmed that (AZL) will join the Star (SAL) Alliance on July 22. (SAL) (CEO) Mark Schwab said (SAL) is “talking to a 2nd carrier in Brazil” about joining and (AZL) would appear to be a prime candidate, particularly now that (UAL) has taken an ownership stake in (AZL).
“Brazil is an important market in (UAL)’s global route network and this partnership with (AZL) further strengthens our ties to the region," (UAL) Vice Chairman & Chief Rrevenue Officer, Jim Compton said.
Azul (AZL) (CEO) David Neeleman added, “Through this partnership, Brazilians will have access to destinations in (UAL)’s world wide route network, while USA customers will be able to fly conveniently to famous destinations in Brazil such as Belo Horizonte, Iguazu Falls, and the Amazon.”
News Item A-2: "Portugal sells 61% stake in (TAP) Portugal to JetBlue (JBL) Founder" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann, June 12, 2015.
The Portuguese government has sold its 61% stake in (TAP) Portugal to the Gateway consortium, a joint venture (JV) between JetBlue Airways (JBL) and Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) Founder, David Neeleman and Portuguese bus company, the Barranquiro Group.
The transaction, which still needs to be approved by the European Commission (EC), finalizes a long-planned privatization process for the loss-making (TAP) Portugal.
Several media outlets quoted the Portuguese Secretary of the Treasury as saying that the sale should generate between €354 million/$488 million and €488 million and it may take up to 2 years to realize the full value of the transaction.
The (TAP) Group has an estimated total debt of $1.4 billion, as well as a provisional valuation for government’s remaining 34% stake. Once the privatization process is completed, Lisbon may exit the (TAP) Group completely after 2017.
According to several media reports, Gateway offered to invest in 53 new airplanes for (TAP), to keep the (TAP) head office in Lisbon for a least 10 years, and have secured (TAP)’s hub operations in Lisbon for the next 30 years.
Star (SAL) Alliance member, (TAP) Portugal, together with Azul (AZL), could open up new opportunities for the (SAL) alliance.
Star (SAL) Alliance (CEO) Mark Schwab said on the sidelines of the (IATA) (AGM) in Miami, that the (SAL) alliance has always been interested in having 2 partners in Brazil, because it is a huge market. “Both carriers, Azul (AZL) and Avianca Brazil (ONE), would offer a very complementary coverage in Brazil,” Schwab said, declining to give more details about an Azul (AZL) membership.
Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) began long-haul services from its hub at São Paulo’s Viracopos/Campinas International Airport (VCP) to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 2nd last year, followed by daily services to Orlando.
Avianca Brazil (ONE) will join the Star (SAL) Alliance in the 2nd part of July.
(TAP)’s other 2 bidders were Avianca Holdings Chairman, German Efromovich and Portuguese investor/entrepreneur Miguel Pais do Amaral.
(TAP) Portugal reported a 2014 loss of -€46 million, reversed from a net profit of +€34 million in 2013. This was the Portugal flag carrier’s 1st loss after 5 consecutive years of profit.
A 10-day pilot (FC) strike by (TAP) pilots (FC) was estimated to have cost some €35 million.
July 2015: News Item A-1: Azul (AZL) will begin service to New York by May 2016, after postponing those flights to focus on its service to Florida. "We will start in the spring of 2016," said (AZL) (CEO), David Neeleman, adding that the flights will likely launch between March and May in 2016, after (AZL) completes a cabin reconfiguration on its Airbus A330s.
(AZL) is currently reconfiguring the A330s, it deploys on its USA service and has said it expects to complete the reconfiguration of all 7 aircraft by November.
(AZL) had announced plans to serve New York John F Kennedy from Viracopos-Campinas when it first unveiled plans for USA service, but has since chosen to focus on boosting its Florida destinations. It will begin Belo Hoizonte - Orlando service in November, followed by Sao Paulo Guarulhos - Orlando flights a month later.
Neeleman said (AZL) has no plans to serve New York via Newark Liberty International airport, despite partner (UAL)'s recent announcement to exit New York (JFK) and move its USA transcontinental service to Newark. "We are not looking at Newark," he said. "We will do a market that (UAL) doesn't serve."
Late last month, (UAL) announced it was investing $100 million in Azul (AZL) for a 5% stake in the Brazilian carrier. The airlines plan to begin a code share and frequent flier partnership.
News Item A-2: (TAP) Portugal and Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) will become sister companies, creating a wide range of potential synergies between the 2 carriers, (TAP) (CEO) Fernando Pinto said.
August 2015: News Item A-1: Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras ((IATA) Code: AD, based at Campinas Viracopos) (AZL) has deferred plans to go public for the 2nd time in 2 years. While it did not offer any exact reason for the delay, it is believed weak market conditions brought on by Brazil's stagnating economy were a key factor.
In its Initial Public Offering (IPO) prospectus unveiled in December last year, (AZL) said it planned to list on both the New York and São Paulo stock exchanges, but did not disclose how much equity would be sold off.
Analysts have stated (AZL) seeks to raise as much as USD1 billion from the sale, though no official projections have yet been released to corroborate this.
News Item A-2: Azul Airlines (AZL) launched services between Belem (BEL) and Cayenne (CAY) on August 20. The 811 km sector will operate 2x-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) using (AZL)'s 68-seater ATR 72s. The airport pair will face direct competition from Surinam Airlines (SUR), which operates a 3x-weekly service with its 737-300s.
News Item A-3: Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) is offering passengers from the USA single-price passes for unlimited flying in Brazil over set time periods.
Any USA passenger flying to/from Brazil aboard (AZL) or United Airlines (UAL) is eligible for the “Azul Brazil Air Pass.” (UAL) announced an agreement with (AZL) in June to acquire a 5% stake in (AZL) and it entered into a partnership with (AZL) that includes code sharing. (AZL) started its own flights to the USA in late 2014.
The pass gives buyers access to unlimited (AZL) flights within Brazil over a period of 10 days for $299 or over period of 21 days for $399. The pass is on sale now, and will remain on sale through November 30 for travel that must be completed by December 15.
(AZL) (CEO) David Neeleman called the pass a “market leading innovation with the best value there is, to see and experience all the wonderful sights and attractions that Brazil has to offer.” He added, “When you consider our lowest fares from Florida to Sao Paulo Campinas start at just $499 round-trip, now you can spend 10 days seeing all of Brazil for <$800. That’s incredible value.”
The offering is reminiscent of JetBlue Airways (JBL)’s experimentation with its “All You Can JetPass” in the fall of 2009 and 2010. (AZL) Founder, Neeleman also founded (JBL), though he had departed (JBL) when it 1st offered a single-price pass for a month of travel in 2009.
News Item A-4: For amazing info on the 2016 Olympics to be centered in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro next year, please see the incredible "Olympics Waterfall."
A comment received is that it does not fit in with its surroundings - - what do you think?
September 2015: Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AZL) has signed a cooperation agreement with Hainan Airlines (HNA) in which the 2 carriers have pledged to open up flights between Brazil and China.
Brazil's "O Povo" newspaper reports the agreement, which was signed in Beijing at the beginning of the month, will pave the way for flights between China and the NE Brazilian town of Fortaleza using Lisbon as an intermediate stopover.
Should it launch, the service would be either airlines' maiden venture into the other's home market. At present, Air China (BEJ) is the only carrier to connect the 2 (BRICS) nations offering a 2x-weekly Beijing Capital - São Paulo Guarulhos service via Madrid Barajas.
While (AZL) currently specializes in budget Brazilian operations, its incoming fleet of A330-200s and A350-900s has allowed it to open up flights to the USA with Europe expected to follow at some point in the future. For its part, (HNA) serves destinations throughout Asia, the (CIS), and Europe. However, its Americas operations are limited to the USA and Canada.
October 2015: News Item A-1: "Portugese Regulator clears (TAP) Portugal takeover" by (ATW) Victoria Moores, October 8, 2015.
Portuguese anti-trust regulator Autoridade da Concorrência (AdC) has given the green light for the "Atlantic Gateway" consortium to acquire a 61% stake in (TAP) Portugal.
The clearance takes the Atlantic Gateway consortium, a joint venture (JV) between JetBlue Airways (JBL) and Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) Founder, David Neeleman and Portuguese bus company, the Barranquiro Group, a step closer to finalizing its acquisition of (TAP) Portugal.
“(AdC) decided to clear the merger as it considered that the notified transaction would not create significant impediments to effective competition on the identified relevant markets, since none of the acquiring parties are active on the same air routes currently operated by (TAP), nor was the risk of elimination of potential competition on the routes to Brazil identified,” (AdC) said.
The competition body added that it was notified of the transaction on August 20, after the European Commission (EC) considered it was “outside its jurisdiction” under European merger control rules.
A (TAP) Portugal spokeswoman said the deal now hangs on approval by Portuguese civil aviation authority, (ANAC). “(TAP)’s privatization process is expected to be completed soon, but I don’t know exactly when,” she said.
(TAP)’s other 2 bidders were Avianca (AVI) Holdings Chairman German Efromovich and Portuguese investor/entrepreneur, Miguel Pais do Amaral.
News Item A-2: A330-242 (494, PR-AIU), for routes between Brazil and Florida, USA. See photo - "AZL-A330-242 - 2015-10.jpg" which shows a turquoise blue design to promote "Azul Viagens" the tour operator division of Azul (AZL).
November 2015: News Item A-1: "The (HNA) Group is to Buy a 23.7% Stake in Azul (AZL) for $450 million" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, November 24, 2015.
Haikou, China-based, (HNA) Group, the parent of Hainan Airlines (HNA), has agreed to buy a 23.7% stake in Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) for $450 million.
(AZL) said that (HNA) has made a “firm commitment” to acquire the holding. (HNA) is aggressively acquiring aviation assets globally; it just gained European Commission (EC) approval to buy 100% of European ground handling company, Swissport.
(AZL) (CEO) David Neeleman noted (HNA) is making a major investment in the Brazilian market at a time when Brazil’s economy is struggling. (HNA) views (AZL) as “a solid investment with high growth potential,” he said, adding, “The investment of $450 million, considering Brazil’s current macroeconomic situation, demonstrates that we have a winning business model and that the (HNA) Group, as a large investor, has absolute confidence in (AZL)’s team.”
(HNA) President Adam Tan said “The (HNA) Group is committed to expanding in the airline industry through strategic investments in companies with strong market positions and excellent management teams. We are pleased to partner with Azul in order to bring more choice and convenience to our customers traveling to and from Brazil.”
(HNA) and (AZL) said their partnership “will result in commercial agreements, joint negotiation efforts, and adjustments in aircraft allocation” and “also enables [Azul (AZL)’s] entry into the Asian market.”
(HNA) joins United Airlines (UAL) as an investor in (AZL). (UAL) earlier this year agreed to acquire a 5% stake in Azul (AZL) for $100 million.
(AZL), founded in 2008 by Neeleman (who also founded JetBlue Airways (JBL)), was a domestic-only operator until late 2014, when it launched services to the USA. In late 2014, (AZL) also signed a purchase agreement for 35 Airbus A320neos and announced it would lease another 28 A320neos.
News Item A-2: Azul (AZL) selected (MINT) Software Systems for training scheduling, e-grading and records management for all cockpit (FC) and cabin (CA) personnel and as a full replacement of outdated software systems.
3 E190-200s (0696, PR-AUN; 0697, PR-AUO; 0698, PR-AUP), (ICBC) Leasing leased, and 3 ATR 72-600 (1281, PR-AKD; 1284, PR-AKE; 1292, PR-AKF), deliveries.
December 2015: Embraer (EMB) delivered the 1,200th E-Jets aircraft to Brazil’s Azul (AZL).
See attached - (AZL-1-David Neeleman-2015-1-A/B.jpg).
See video: "Rio de Janeiro Christ the Redeemer."
February 2016: News Item A-1: Hainan Airlines (HNA) said on February 4 that it will inject US$450 million into Brazil's 3rd largest airline Azul (AZL), a move it expects to expand its route network in South America, Africa, and Europe.
After the injection, (HNA) will become the largest shareholder of (AZL) with a 23.7% stake in (AZL).
In addition, (HNA) will provide Azul (AZL) with a loan of US$150 million at a rate of 14.25%, with a maturity of 181 days.
The latest deal is related to the business already reported last year in which Hainan Airlines (HNA) became a shareholder of the company through an investment of US$450 million.
News Item A-2: "Portuguese Government Increases Stake in (TAP)" by (ATW) Alan Dron, February 8, 2016.
Just two months after Portugal agreed to a private consortium taking a majority stake in national carrier (TAP), the country’s government has scaled back the acquiring consortium’s share to 45%.
Since the agreement was confirmed in November, an election has brought a socialist administration to power in Lisbon. One of the planks of its campaign was to roll back privatizations agreed by the previous government.
Under last year’s agreement, the Atlantic Gateway consortium (comprising JetBlue Airways (JBL) and Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) founder, David Neeleman and Portuguese bus company the Barranquiro Group, took 61% of (TAP)) with the government retaining 34% and (TAP) employees 5%.
Following negotiations, however, the government announced February 5 that it had agreed via a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the consortium to increase its shareholding to 50%, with Atlantic Gateway’s share cut to 45% and the employees retaining 5%.
Final details of the new agreement have still to be agreed, a (TAP) spokeswoman said February 8. However, despite taking its larger stake in the airline, “The government has recognized that it’s privatized. Nothing has changed.”
She said she did not yet have details of how governance of the airline under the new arrangement would work.
A 12-strong non-executive board will be equally split between government and Atlantic Gateway representatives.
March 2016: News Item A-1: "Azul (AZL) Makes $90 million Investment in (TAP) Portugal" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann, March 25, 2016.
Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) has acquired $90 million in convertible bonds in (TAP) Portugal, the equivalent of 40% of the economic value of (TAP) Portugal, spokesperson Isabela Palma said. The transaction is pending approval from Portuguese civil aviation authority (ANAC).
In 2015, the Atlantic Gateway consortium, which is partly backed by JetBlue Airways (JBL) and Azul (AZL) Founder David Neeleman, acquired a 61% stake in (TAP) from the Portuguese government. But in February of this year—after, Portugal agreed to the private consortium taking a majority stake in (TAP), the country’s government scaled back the acquiring consortium’s share to 45%.
In November 2015, Haikou, China-based (HNA) Group, the parent of Hainan Airlines (HNA), made a firm commitment to buy 23.7% stake in Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) for $450 million.
Several media outlets have reported that Azul (AZL) sees this $90 million investment as a way to strengthen the common interests between Azul (AZL), (TAP) and the (HNA) Group. It also opens up additional opportunities to further explore trade agreements, joint negotiations, fleet optimization partnerships, and provides global job and career possibilities for crew.
As part of the cooperation between (AZL) and (TAP), (AZL) will sublease 17 aircraft to the Portuguese carrier, including Airbus A330-200s, Embraer (EMB) E190s, and ATR 72-600 turboprops.
News Item A-2: JetBlue Airways (JBL) and Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) have reached an agreement under which (AZL) will place its code on (JBL) flights from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Orlando (MCO).
(AZL) serves (FLL) and (MCO) from São Paulo Viracopos with Airbus A330-200s. Under the deal, Azul (AZL)’s AD code will be placed on JetBlue (JBL) flights to multiple destinations from (FLL) and (MCO).
Once the arrangement receives regulatory approval, “customers purchasing a code share itinerary will benefit from having a single ticket that includes both (AZL) and (JBL)-operated flights as well as conveniences on their day of travel like one-stop check-in and baggage transfer,” JetBlue (JBL) and Azul (AZL) said.
(AZL) (CEO) & Founder David Neeleman was also (JBL)’s Founder. Neeleman said that “the agreement with (JBL) grows (AZL)’s travel options in the international market, expanding our service network to destinations served by (JBL). This will place (AZL) and (JBL) in very advantageous positions in the market.”
News Item A-3: Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL), the nation's 3rd largest airline, plans to transfer as many as 1,700 pilots (FC) to China's (HNA) Group, as part of its saving program, Folha de Sao Paulo reported on March 11.
According to the report, the (HNA) Group will introduce about 100 Brazilian pilots (FC) in the initial stage, for Hainan Airlines (HNA), Grand China Air (GCH), Tianjin Airlines (GCR), Lucky Air (LKY) and West Air (CHO). After 3 years' working in China, those pilots (FC) could decide to stay or leave for Brazil.
In addition, (AZL) is also planned to cut fleet capacity by -7% in 2016.
At the end of 2015, the (HNA) Group injected US$450 million into Brazil's third largest airline (AZL) for a 23.7% stake, a move it expects to expand its route network in South America, Africa, and Europe.
July 2016: News Item A-1: Hainan Airlines (HNA) plans to take a 23% shareholding in (TAP) Portugal, with a bond buy from Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL), in a €30 million/$33 million transaction.
According to a statement from the Shanghai Stock Exchange, (HNA) intends to buy the stake in (TAP) through the purchase of 25% convertible bonds from (AZL), the Brazilian low-cost carrier (LCC). (AZL) bought $100 million of bonds from (TAP) in March 2016, giving it a 40% potential interest in (TAP), the Portuguese flag carrier.
This latest move bolsters (HNA)’s presence in both the European and South American markets, following the purchase of a 23.7% stake in Azul (AZL) for $450 million in November 2015, and a 7% stake in the Atlantic Gateway consortium (a part-owner of (TAP)).
(HNA)’s latest investment in (TAP) gives it a 13.06% economic interest in (TAP), according to the Shanghai Stock Exchange statement, along with voting power on the (TAP) board from a seat on the 12-person Director’s list.
August 2016: Rio's 2016 Olympics:
October 2016: (GE) Capital Aviation Services Limited (GECAS) (GEF) delivered a new, leased Airbus A320neo to Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) to expand and modernize the low-cost carrier (LCC)’s fleet. The A320neo, powered by (CFM) International (LEAP-1A) engines, is the 1st of 8 aircraft scheduled for delivery to (AZL) by the end of 2019. All 8 A320neos are part of (GECAS)’ existing order book with Airbus.
January 2017: Thales (THL) was selected by Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) to supply avionics packages for 58 Airbus A320neos.
A320neo (7409, PR-YRF "Sou Azul 320%"), ex-(F-WWBN) (GECAS) (GEF) leased.
February 2017: News Item A-1: "INCDT: Azul E195 at Vitoria on February 21, Cabin Side Wall Overheats & Catches Fire" by Simon Hradecky, The Aviation Herald, February 22, 2017.
An Azul Linhas Aereas (AZL) Embraer E195 (PR-AUO) performing flight AD2520 from Belo Horizonte, MG to Vitoria, ES (Brazil), was landing on Vitoria's runway 05 when the left side wall next to a passenger seat began to warm up. The aircraft slowed safely and was taxiing when the cabin side wall overheated and burst into flames.
Cabin crew (CA) immediately tackled the fire successfully removing the side wall and extinguishing the fire. There were no injuries, the aircraft received minor damage.
The occurrence is being investigated by Brazil's (CENIPA).
News Item A-2: See video on Rio de Janeiro:
March 2017: News Item A-1: Azul Airlines (AZL) launched its only international route from Belo Horizonte (CNF) on March 8, a connection to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE), its only link to Argentina. (AZL) will serve the 2,211 km sector daily on its E195s, with (GOL) being the only incumbent on the route offering a weekly rotation, a route it started the day before Azul Airlines (AZL)’s inauguration. “We are living a special moment with the arrival of a great destination like Buenos Aires. We are happy to see this project materialized and we are sure that our customers will be satisfied. I am also sure that we will contribute to the development of the economies of both countries. I thank the Brazilian and Argentine authorities for their support to make this flight possible and I would also like to thank our crew,” said Antonaldo Neves (CEO) of (AZL) at the launch. This is not the 1st time that (AZL) has offered international services from Belo Horizonte. Between November 16 2015 and February 29 2016, (AZL) flew between Belo Horizonte and Orlando, a route which hit a daily rotation at its peak. With this latest launch to Ezeiza, (AZL) is serving 40+ destinations from Belo Horizonte, with (AZL) offering 61,226 weekly one-way seats out of the Brazilian city with an average of 80 daily departures. Belo Horizonte is Azul Airlines (AZL)’s 2nd largest operation after Sao Paulo Viracopos, with the former occupying 11% of (AZL)’s weekly departing seat capacity.
News Item A-2: Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) will be the 1st carrier to operate the Embraer E195-E2 in service, the Brazilian manufacturer said. (AZL), which placed the launch order for the E195-E2 at the 2014 Farnborough Airshow, will take delivery of its 1st of the type in the 1st half of 2019. (AZL) has 30 E195-E2s on firm order, plus purchase rights for +20 more.
(AZL) is not a surprise selection to be the launch operator of the E195-E2, which it will configure with 130Y seats in a single-class layout. “Azul (AZL) played a key role in the E195-E2 development, actively participating in the design specification of the aircraft,” Embraer Commercial Aviation President & (CEO) John Slattery said.
(AZL) today operates 73 current-generation E-Jets in its fleet. The E190-E2 will be the 1st E2 variant to enter service in 2018 with launch operator Norwegian regional airline Widerøe. The 1st E195-E2 prototype rolled out March 7 at Embraer (EMB)’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil.
August 2017: Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) will add +2 more Brazil - Florida routes in December and has reached an expanded code share agreement with New York-based JetBlue Airways (JBL).
(AZL) currently serves both Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Florida daily from its São Paulo base and Orlando from Recife, Brazil. In December, it will launch daily Airbus A330 flights between Belo Horizonte, Brazil and Orlando and daily A320neo flights between Belem, Brazil and Fort Lauderdale.
(AZL)’s other long-haul international destination is Lisbon, to which it flies from São Paulo. The growing international network is aimed at connecting Brazilian passengers to (AZL)’s code share partners.
Azul (AZL) has code share agreements in place with United Airlines (UAL), which owns a stake in (AZL), and (TAP) Portugal, in which (AZL) owns a stake. Building on a prior interline deal with JetBlue (JBL) (also founded by (AZL) Founder David Neeleman) (AZL)l and (JBL) have agreed to put (AZL)’s code on JetBlue (JBL) flights between several destinations and Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
Azul (AZL) and JetBlue (JBL) had announced an agreement last year to enable (AZL) codes to be placed on some (JBL) flights, but an (AZL) spokesperson said the new deal is more expansive. “Our systems are more integrated now,” the spokesperson said.
(AZL)’s international flying “is strong,” (AZL) Chief Revenue Officer Abhi Manoj Shah told analysts and reporters on August 14. “The [international] unit revenues are up year-over-year. The strengthening of the local currency is encouraging Brazilians to travel to North America and Europe more. We want to fly from where we are strong [in Brazil] to where our partners are strong, where (JBL), (UAL) and (TAP) are strong.”
September 2017: Ethiopian Airlines (ETH) and Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) will code share from October 1. Addis Ababa-based (ETH) may place its code in Azul’s operations from São Paulo (Guarulhos) to Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Goiania, Porto Alegre, Cuiabá, Foz do Iguaçu and Florianopolis. Reciprocally, Azul airlines (AZL) will market on Ethiopian (ETH) vast network throughout Africa and beyond.
October 2017: Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) is selling 10 ATR 72-600 turboprops to Nordic Aviation Capital (NDC), in a move to renew its fleet and reduce its debt by about -$103 million. The 1st 5 aircraft are expected to exit (AZL)’s fleet in 2017, followed by the rest in early 2018. (AZL) will end 2017 with 35 ATRs. The deal also involves (AZL) adding 3 new ATR 72-600s under operating leases.
December 2017: News Item A-1: Azul Airlines (AZL) commenced 2 new international routes from Brazil, with (AZL) now linking Belem (BEL) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL), while Navegantes (NVT) has gained a connection to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE).
The new USA route was the 1st to be inaugurated, with flights on the 4,566 km link to (FLL) having begun on December 10, a sector Azul will operate 4x-weekly. Flights on the 1,291 km city pair between Navegantes and Buenos Aires, the Argentinian capital began December 11, with a daily rotation scheduled on the airport pair. Flights to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) are flown on (AZL)’s A320s, with this becoming (AZL)’s 2nd route to the Floridian city after Sao Paulo Viracopos.
Services to Ezeiza will be flown on a mixture of the airline’s E190s and E195s, with this becoming (AZL)’s 2nd route to the Argentinian city, adding to its existing service from Belo Horizonte.
Neither of (AZL)’s new routes will face any direct competition.
News Item A-2: "Azul, Turkish Airlines to Code Share" by Kurt Hofmann, (ATW) Daily News, December 8, 2017.
Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) and Turkish Airlines (THY) have signed a code share agreement. Star (SAL) Alliance partner (THY) will add its TK code on (AZL) domestic flights via São Paulo (Guarulhos) to many destinations in Brazil, such as Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Recife, Goiania and Florianopolis.
(AZL) is the largest airline in Brazil by number of cities served, and offers 755 daily flights to 104 destinations with a fleet of 118 aircraft.
"The code share with (THY) will be very important to strengthen our international presence, especially for customers traveling from Europe and Asia to Brazil. Now they will be able to enjoy the convenience of thru ticketing, check-in and boarding passes," (AZL) Chief Revenue Officer Abhi Shah said.
News Item A-3: Azul Airlines (AZL) aims to shrink its older fleet of Embraer jets in order to speed up expansion of its Airbus A320neo fleet and cut the number of leases it has that carry higher rates, a holdover from its days as a start-up 9 years ago, with no financial history. Now (AZL) boasts it has one of the lowest leverage ratios among South American airlines, and aims to take advantage of its improved debt position to achieve better aircraft financing rates in the marketplace.
(AZL) is moving aggressively to forge deals for older E-Jets in order to grow its fleet of next generation Airbus (EDS) narrow bodies to push down its operating expense. Many operators of Embraer E190s are examining ways to adjust their respective fleets, as network evolution and a quest to contain costs warrant scrutiny of older aircraft.
February 2018: News Item A-1: "Azul Considers In-house A320, Embraer Aircraft Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO)" February 07, 2018.
Azul (AZL)’s maintenance activities continue to grow as (AZL) expands and adds new Airbus (EDS) and Embraer (EMB) models.
(AZL) started operating in 2008 with 2 Embraer E190s, connecting Viracopos to Salvador and Porto Alegre. Today, (AZL) is Brazil’s largest carrier in terms of daily departures (approximately 800 to 104 cities in Brazil). (AZL) also flies to Portugal; the USA; Argentina; Uruguay; and French Guiana. Nearing (AZL)’s 10th anniversary, Reuel Matos, General Manager Operations & Maintenance, addressed fleet planning and support as the airline continues to grow.
In only 10 years, (AZL) has grown into the largest domestic carrier in Brazil by number of departures and destinations and has expanded into international routes. What is the make-up of the fleet that has supported this growth?
Our active fleet includes 10 Embraer E190s and 60 E195s, plus 39 ATR 72-600s, with 3 more in Toulouse (at ATR), ready to start operations in Uruguay next year. We also have 9 Airbus A320neos and plan to add 5 more in January 2018. Plus we operate 7 Airbus A330-243s, with 1 added in December. We have an agreement with Avolon to lease 5 A330-900neos, with entry into service starting in December 2018.
* Are there additional technical capabilities Azul will have to establish to support the A330-900neos, even though Azul already operates the A330-200, or is there enough commonality between the 2 types?
Pilot (FC) training will not be a big deal due to similarities with the A330-200, but for maintenance, the major difference will be for the engine. Our A330-200 fleet is powered by the Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 700). For the A330-900neo, it will be the (Trent 7000). Airbus and (RRC) will help with any differences training for technicians (MT). (AZL) and Airbus (EDS) began entry into service (EIS) meetings for the A330-900neo in January.
* What advantages will the new A330-900neo provide to Azul’s operations? Greater range? Better fuel burn?
Both, especially fuel burn. Our A320neos, with (CFM) (Leap-1A) engines, have shown very good figures on fuel burn. We are very satisfied with the A320neo’s performance (since their (EIS) with (AZL) in October 2016) and we expect the same on the A330-900neo with the (Trent 7000).
* Does the deal for the A330-900neo mean that (AZL) is focusing more on longer-haul international destinations, possibly in Europe?
(AZL) always evaluates the possibility of operating in new markets, but we don’t have plans to announce anything right now.
* Are any other fleet changes being planned?
Yes. Starting in 2020, we will receive the 1st of 50 E195-E2s from Embraer (EMB), which will replace part of our present E190/E195 fleet.
* Where does Azul provide technical support on such a diverse fleet?
For our ATRs, "C" checks are carried out by (AZL) in our hangar in Belo Horizonte [Brazil] at the Pampulha Airport, while for the Embraer fleet, some "C" checks are also performed at Pampulha Airport. Other Embraer "C" checks are contracted to (TAP) Maintenance & Engineering (TAPME) in Porto Alegre. (TAPME) also handles all heavy A330 inspections in Rio de Janiero and will do the same on A320neos when their 1st major airframe inspections come due. Depending on utilization, that will be in about 18 months.
* Does (AZL) perform any of its own engine maintenance?
(AZL) performs mostly line support, since it has power-by-the-hour agreements with (GE), Rolls-Royce (RRC) and Pratt & Whitney (PRW), which include hot section inspections.
* Are any changes being planned for maintenance and technical support?
Plans are to build a new hangar at Viracopos, to provide better support for the entire fleet (especially unplanned and major maintenance events like engine changes, aircraft inspections on jacks, structural repairs, large modifications, etc). The hangar, which is scheduled to open within the next 12 to 18 months, has been designed to accommodate 1one wide body the size of an Airbus A350 and, at the same time, as many as 2 to 3 narrow body jets, and 3 to 4 ATRs or E-Jets.
* With the new hangar, do you plan to bring heavy checks on your A320neos and A330-900neos in-house?
(AZL) is entertaining bringing A320 and the Embraer "C" checks in-house (when the new hangar is built). But this is just an idea so far.
* Are there any new technologies being added to enhance (AZL)'s maintenance operations?
We started a health-monitoring process and maintenance-operations quality-assurance analysis to better help with anticipating failures, and it has shown good results so far. Also, we are implementing wireless quick access recorders in some aircraft to get a better and faster retrieval of data for analysis. We will keep exploring opportunities with health monitoring.
* What are some of the unique challenges involved with maintaining such a diverse fleet of aircraft over such a huge geographical area?
Our large and complex network in Brazil imposes a challenge in terms of allocating spares and keeping minimum equipment list items under control. To help the logistics of people and material, we use 2 Pilatus PC-12 turboprops (not included in our OpSpecs) to deal with (AOG) situations) mainly in distant cities where no other airline flies.
* Does (AZL) have a training program for its mechanics (MT)?
Yes, we have a training program approved by Agencia Nacional de Aviacion Civil (ANAC). Its content is mainly related to ramp and transit activities on the airframe and engine side, especially for line maintenance technicians. We also provide base maintenance training for our technicians (MT) dedicated to heavy checks. Recurrent training varies from 2 to 3 years.
We also offer some specialized training like borescope and other (NDT) inspections, engine run-up and (IFE) maintenance.
* How many mechanics (MT) does (AZL) employ?
We have 1,418 technicians (MT), including 1,220 for line, and 169 for hangar maintenance, plus another 29 technicians in our repair shops.
* Does (AZL) in-source any maintenance work from other carriers? If yes, is that a growth opportunity for (AZL)?
We don’t do heavy checks or component repairs for 3rd parties. In some cities, we provide line maintenance on E-Jets for other airlines, like Austral in Argentina. However, it is not in our strategy to deliver (MRO) services to other airlines.
Daily departures: 800.
Routes: Serves 104 cities in Brazil, plus Orlando and Ft Lauderdale in USA, Lisbon Portugal, Cayenne French Guyana, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay.
News Item A-2: The Embraer E190-E2, the 1st aircraft in the Brazilian manufacturer’s E-Jet E2 program, has received its type certificate from Brazilian regulator (ANAC), the (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), clearing the way for 1st delivery to Norwegian regional airline Widerøe.
Embraer (EMB) noted the E190-E2’s certification comes just 4 years and 8 months after the E2 program was launched at the 2013 Paris Air Show. (EMB) had originally set a conservative mid-2018 target for certification.
(EMB) (CEO) Paulo Cesar Silva noted the E190-E2 was certified “on schedule and on budget” and that a number of development targets, including fuel burn, noise and maintenance costs, “came in better than originally specified.”
The E190-E2 is powered by Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1900) geared turbofan (GTF) engines and features a new wing and landing gear compared to the E190-E1. The E190-E2 is +17.3% more fuel efficient than the E190-E1, according to Embraer, which bests the 16% fuel burn improvement originally projected.
The flight test fleet, which included 4 aircraft, completed 2,000 flight hours. “Flight test results also confirmed the E190-E2 to be better than its original specification in takeoff performance,” Embraer stated. “The aircraft’s range from airports with hot-and-high conditions, such as Denver and Mexico City, increases by 600 nm compared to current-generation aircraft. Its range from airports with short runways, such as London City, also increases by >1,000 nm allowing the aircraft to reach destinations like Moscow and cities in the north of Africa [from London City].”
Embraer Commercial Aviation (CEO) John Slattery predicted certification would lead to “an acceleration of commercial discussions with operators around the globe” regarding E2 family aircraft, which will also include the E195-E2 and the E190-E2. The E195-E2 is expected to enter service in 2019 with Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL).
Widerøe, which is scheduled to take delivery of the E190-E2 in April, will configure the aircraft with 114Y seats in a single-class configuration.
Silva did concede recently that the E190-E2 flight test campaign was not completely uneventful. “We had a lot of issues, but we managed to tackle them properly throughout the development,” he said. “We had to slightly change the position of the flaps and the way the openings on the leading edge were designed to improve performance. So we had a lot of fine-tuning.”
Click below for photos:
AZL-A320neo FAMILY - 2014-12
AZL-A330-200 - 2016-02.jpg
AZL-A330-242 - 2015-10.jpg
AZL-A330-243 - 2014-12
AZL-A330-243 Big Blue Bus 2017-01.jpg
AZL-ATR72 LA VILLE ROSE - 2011-11
AZL-ATR72-BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
AZL-E195 - 2011-10-A
AZL-E195 - 2012-02
35 ORDERS A320neo FAMILY AIRPLANES:
28 ORDERS A320neo FAMILY AIRPLANES:
1 A320neo (7409, PR-YRF "SOU AZUL 320%"), EX-(F-WWBN) (GECAS) (GEF) LEASED 2017-01.
9 +5 ORDERS (2018-01) A320neo
1 A330-242 (494, PR-AIU), EX-(EAD)
12 A330-243 (TRENT 772B-60) (276, /99 A9C-KA; 281, /99 A9C-KB; 286, /99 A9C-KC; 287, /99 A9C-KD; 334, /00 A9C-KE; 340, /00 A9C-KF "ALDAFRA;" 344; 527 /00 A9C-KG; 532, PR-AIV, 2014-08; 574; 576; 598), 527; TO (AZL) 2014-06. 8F, 24C, 183Y.
6 +1 ORDER (2017-12) A330-243 (TRENT 772B-60) (527, /00), EX-(GUL), EX-(A9C-KG), (ILF) LSD 2014-05. 8F, 24C, 183Y.
5 ORDERS (2018-12) A350-900 (TRENT XWB) (ILF) LSD:
9 EMBRAER E175.
4 EMBRAER E190 (CF34-10E6) (0147, /08 PR-AZL "O RIO DE JANEIRO CONTINUA AZUL;" 0150, /08 PR-AZA "AZULVILLE;" 0241, /09 PR-AZB "AZUL PAULISTA;" 0242, /09 PR-AZC "CEU AZUL;" 0696, PR-AUN 2015-11 "AZUL DE FELICIDADE;" 0697, PR-AUO 2015-11 "TERM E AZUL;" 0698, PR-AUP 2015-11 "AZUL & EMBRAER"), 106Y.
6 E190-200AR (CF34-10E7) (0271, /09 PR-AZD "PASSARO AZUL;" 0282, /09 PR-AZE "VERDE, AMERELO E AZUL;" 0295, /09 PR-AZF "VOCE QUE E FEITO DE AZUL;" 0329, /09 PR-AZG "A TERRA E AZUL;" 0330, /09 PR-AZH "AZULCENTER;" 0336 /10 PR-AZI "ANDORINHA AZUL"), 106Y.
20 E195-200AR (CF34-10E7) (0237, /08 PR-AYA "AZUL E BRAZIL;" 0239, /08 PR-AYB "TUDO AZUL;" 0240, /08 PR-AYD "A LIBERDADE E AZUL;" 0247, /09 PR-AYD; 0260, /09 PR-AYE "AZUL, OURO DE MINAS;" PR-AXA, 2011-05; PR-AXB, 2011-06; PR-AXC, 2011-07), 118Y.
42 E195-200AR (CF34-10E7) (0353, /10 PR-AYF "TRIPULANTE AZUL*;" 0356, /10 PR-AYG "TUDO NOVO, TUDO AZUL;" 0361, /10 PR-AYH "CEU SOL, SUL AZUL/EU SOU CHOCOLOVER;" 0366, /10 PR-AYI "AZUL CELESTE;" 0370, /10 PR-AVJ "AZUL REAL;" 0374, /10 PR-AYK "DIAMENTE AZUL;" 378, /10 PR-AYL "AMAZONIA AZUL;" 382, /10 PR-AYM "CADA VEZ MAIS AZUL/EU SOU CHOCOLOVER;" 386, /10 PR-AYN "BLUE ANGELS/EU SOU CHOCOLOVER;" 391 /10 PR-AYO; 396, /10 PR-AYP "ARARA AZUL;" 407, /11 PR-AYQ "AZUL E VITORIA;" 413, /11 PR-AYR; 0419 /11 PR-AYS "JAMBOCK AZUL;" 429 /11 PR-AYT; 434, /11 PR-AYU; 449 /11 PR-AYV "AZUL BRASIL;" 458 /11 PR-AYW "VENTO AZUL;" 471, /11 PR-AYX "AZUL E VERDE;" 475, /11 PR-AYY; 484, /11 PR-AYZ; 491, /11 PR-AXA "AZUL SAFIRA;" 498, /11 PR-AXB; 510, /12 PR-AXC "AZUL TROPICAL;" PR-AYY, 2012-02; PR-AYZ, 2012-04; 0575, PR-AXI "PILOTO AZUL" 2012-10; 0592, PR-AXO "FINEP;" 0620, PR-AXS; 0621, PR-AXT; 0626, PR-AXU "AZUL BOSSA NOVA;" 0628, PR-AXV "ESPIRITO DE UNIAO;" 0638, PR-AXW; 0647, PR-AXX; 0648, PR-AXZ; 0652, PR-AUA), BF (JBL) BY JETSCAPE & LST (AZL) FOR 12 YRS. *REPAINTED INTO SPECIAL "DOTZ" COLORS. 118Y.
1 EMBRAER E195-200AR (CF34-10E7) (0391, /10 PR-AYO "ROZA E AZUL" - - SEE PHOTOS - - "AZL-EMB-195-2010-10" & "AZL-EMB-195-2011-01"), "CANCER AWARENESS" PINK COLORS. 118Y.
30/20 ORDERS (2019-04) EMBRAER E195-E2 (PW1900G), 130Y:
4 ATR 72-500 (-212A) (PW124B) (193, PR-AZZ "AZULMANIA;" 352, PR-AZV; 450, /95 PR-AZT "PLANETA AZUL"), 2011-10. 352, PR-AZV; 450, PR-AZT; RTND. 65Y.
1 ATR 72-500 (-212A) (PW124B) (396, /95 PR-AZV "LA VILLE ROSE"), WITH "CANCER AWARENESS" PINK COLORS 1995-09, 70Y.
2 ATR 72-500 (-212A) (PW124B) (519, /98 PR-AZR "AZUL, BLANC ET ROUGE" 2010-12; 523, /98 PR-AZS "GRALHA AZUL" 2011-01), LSD. 65Y.
1 ATR 72-500 (-212A) (PW124B) (891, PP-PTU "TUDO AZUL"), SEEN AT BELO HORIZONTE 2013-12, EX-TRIP LINHAS AEREAS. 65Y.
42 ATR 72-600 (PW127) (966, /11 PR-ATR "AZUL TANGO ROMEO" 2011-10; 969, /11 PR-ATB "LA VILLE ROSE" - - SEE PHOTO - - "AZL-ATR72 "LA VILLE ROSE;" 988, /12 PR-ATG "PLANETA AZUL;" 991, /12 PR-ATH; 1027, /12 PR-ATQ "O NORDESTE E AZUL;" 1033, /12 PR-ATU "AZUL ANIL;" 1043, /12 PR-ATV; 1046, /12 PR-ATW, "HORIZONTE AZUL;" 1052, /12 PR-AQA; 1054, /12 PR-AQB; 1057, /12 PR-AQC; 1060, /12 PR-AQD; 1066 /13 PR-AQE; 1072, /13 PR-AQF; 1076, /13 PR-AQG; 1088, /13 PR-AQI "E AZUL, E AZUL;" 1094, PR-AQG; 1166, PR-AQQ, 2014-08; 1245, PR-AKA "E AZUL;" 1281, PR-AKD, 2015-11 "FAMILIA AZUL;" 1284, PR-AKE, 2015-11 TCHU TCHU AZUL;" 1292, PR-AKF, 2015-11 "E AZUUUUUUUUL"), WILL SELL 10 ATR 72-600'S IN 2017 TO NORDIC AVIATION CAPITAL (NDC) AND ADD 3 NEW ATR 72-600'S UNDER OPERATING LEASES. 70Y.
Click below for photos:
AZL-3-Reuel Matos 2018-02.jpg
DAVID NEELEMAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO) & FOUNDER.
David Neeleman was the founder and is a member of the board of directors of JetBlue Airways (JBL). David was a co-founder of WestJet (WJI) and from 1996 to 1999, served as a member of (WJI)'s board of directors. From October 1995 to October 1998, David served as the (CEO) and a member of the board of directors of "Open Skies," a company that develops and implements airline reservation systems and which was acquired by the Hewlett Packard Company. From 1988 to 1994, David served as President and was a member of the board of directors of Morris Air Corporation, a low-fare airline that was acquired by Southwest Airlines (SWA). For a brief period, in connection with the acquisition, he served on the Executive Planning Committee at (SWA). From 1984 to 1988, David was an Executive Vice President of Morris Air. David attended the University of Utah.
"Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras" (AZL) is the name of (JBL) founder and former Chairman & (CEO) David Neeleman's new Brazilian airline. The "Azul" part of the name is Portuguese for "blue" and was chosen over "Samba" following a public vote. David was made (CEO) of the new carrier, which began flying in December 2008, and had 76 E195 firm orders and options. (AZL) "proposed to bypass congested hubs, offering point-to-point service with exceptional quality and lower prices" and featured the all-leather seats and satellite television popularized by (JBL).
ANTONALDO NEVES CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO).
MIGUEL DAU, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER (COO).
ABHI SHAH, CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER.
TREY URBAHN, HEAD MARKETING & PLANNING.
ALVARO NETO, FLIGHT OPERATIONS DIRECTOR.
REUEL MATOS, DIRECTOR MAINTENANCE.
GIANFRANCO BETING, DIRECTOR MARKETING.
GIANFRANCO BETING, COMMUNICATION, BRAND & PRODUCT DIRECTOR.
ALBERTO FEBELIANO, INSTITUTIONAL RELATIONS DIRECTOR.