Brazilian airline Azul Linhas Aereas announced that it plans on having a hundred percent next-generation aircraft by 2026, according to media reports. The airline announced that it plans on using planes like Embraer E2, Airbus A320neos and A321neos for commercial flights while retiring and replacing its older, costlier, Embraer E1 fleet.
Reports also suggest that Azul is responsible for half of the market growth, which saw the number of domestic passengers in Brazil has double. Founded by David Neelman, the carrier started operating in 2008 and initially travelled from Campinas to Salvador and Porto Alegre. At present, Azul operates in 127 domestic and five international destinations and it flies to every state of Brazil except Acre.
Talking about the importance of renewing its fleet, Azul’s CFO, Alex Malfitani told the media, “Looking at our numbers, the cost of the E1 is much higher. So our reduction as we go from the old generation to the new generation will be bigger than the reduction that our competitors are going to go through. Everybody is going to go to the next generation, right? The difference is where are you starting from? And we are years ahead of the competition in terms of when we’re going to get to 100% next-gen.”
Initially, Azul planned on having 100 percent next-generation aircraft by 2024 but had to postpone its plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At present, Azul has a fleet of 140 aircraft including nine E2s. In 2022, Azul will welcome the addition of six new E2 and four A320neos. By 2023, the airline’s fleet will reduce to 140 again due to further reduction of the E1s.