MIAMI — Azul, the Brazilian low-cost, award-winning airline, announced today a heavy expansion to the United States with two new flights from Belo Horizonte (CNF) to Orlando (MCO), and from Belem (BEL) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL).
The new flights will be launched in December 2017, during the peak of the Brazilian high season.
“I am very pleased to announce new international service from Brazil to the US,” said the airline’s Chairman, David Neeleman. “Not only have our customers been asking for these flights, but this also strengthens our strategic positioning in these important cities,” he added.
In addition to these new nonstop flights, Azul will be increasing its number of flights to FLL and MCO from the airline’s Viracopos (VCP) main hub up to five flights a day.
With these new routes, Azul consolidates itself as the largest airline in Brazil by number of cities served, offering over 739 daily flights, of which over 200 are non-stop, to over 100 destinations. Its fleet counts with 123 aircraft, including 60 Embraer 195s, 10 Embraer 190s, 40 ATR 72-600s, 8 Airbus A320neos, and 6 wide-body Airbus A330-200s.
LONG-HAUL WITH THE AIRBUS A330 AND A320NEO
Azul’s presence in the United States continues to grow with increased capacity on the new CNF-MCO route. Operated with the airline’s Airbus A330-200, the airline will offer its passengers one of the best cabins in the industry, fitted with the new Azul Xtra fledged Business Class cabin, Economy Xtra (Premium Economy), and standard Economy.
Similarly, the airline will launch its newest Airbus A320neo on the BEL-FLL route. The new neos are fitted with 174 seats in an all-economy layout, of which 36 are labeled “Espaço Azul”, offering more legroom for paying customers.
Back in January 2016, Azul signed a purchase agreement for more than 35 Airbus A320neos, with an additional 28 to be leased. In October, the first aircraft (PR-YRA), powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines, was delivered to the airline via GE Capital Aviation Services Limited (GECAS).
Even though the A320neos are set replace E195s on routes where the latter are not doing well, and where higher passenger density is needed, Azul determined that the aircraft was a perfect fit for routes of more than 2,500km [1,350 miles]. The BEL-FLL route is 2,800nm apart.
Antonoaldo Neves, the airline’s CEO, told Airways, “The combination of both Airbus and Embraer will optimise Azul’s offerings. The new Airbus will further drive CASM [cost per available seat mile] down.”
According to Airbus, 52 A320neos and 10 A321neos will be joining Azul’s fleet.