Brazilian carrier Azul received its first A330-900 out of 15 on order, according to FlightGlobal, becoming the first carrier in the Americas to operate the type. The revamped A330 version plays a key role in capitalizing the Brazilian carrier’s expansion plans to more destinations across Europe and North America.
Celebrating the event, John Rodgerson Azul’s Chief executive officer said: “We are very proud to be the first A330neo operator in The Americas. This new aircraft will play a key role in the expansion of our international markets, supporting our strategy of having a modern and fuel efficient fleet.”
Christian Scherer, Chief commercial officer at Airbus added: “With its many new features and an Airspace cabin, the A330neo can only add to Azul’s many travel awards,” praising the type’s superior passenger comfort and increased fuel efficiency, burning 25 percent less fuel than its predecessor.
The first aircraft, leased by Avolon and registered as PR-ANZ, is the first of the five aircraft to be operated by the Brazilian carrier, out of the 15 ordered by the Irish lessor. Inside, it is configured with 298 seats in a three class layout, with 34 seats in Business class, 96 in Economy Xtra, its extra legroom economy section and 168 in economy. The seating configuration is identical to TAP A330neos. Both carriers are partially owned by David Neeleman, with their new Airbus latest generation widebodies being leased by the same Irish lessor.
The A330neo will help Azul replace its seven second-hand A330-200s, which are 17 years old on average; while at the same time continue its expansion plans to more destinations in Europe and the U.S. Currently, the airline serves Orlando and Fort Lauderdale from its hub in Campinas Airport (VCP) near Sao Paulo and Recife in North East Brazil. Additionally, the carrier flies to Lisbon from Sao Paulo (VCP) and will soon begin serving Porto with three flights a week.
Although the airline has not stated where it will first fly its A330neo, it appears to be scheduled on selected flights between Sao Paulo Campinas and Lisbon beginning on the second week of June. It is still not clear whether the type will be assigned to a particular route first or if it will rotate across Azul’s long-haul network.
A few days before, Delta’s first A330neo completed its maiden test flight overflying the French Pyrenees after delays caused by Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engine backlogs. The American carrier has orders for 35 of the type with the first expected to be delivered before the end of the month.