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Azul Set to Officially Launch Azul Conecta
As the rebuilding of Brazilian commercial aviation continues, Azul Brazilian Airlines, Brazil’s third-largest airline before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March, will rebrand its latest acquisition to bring it closer to its own brand. TwoFlex Táxi Aéreo, which had its takeover approved by anti-trust authorities in March and concluded in May, will now be officially called “Azul Conecta.”
According to Mercado e Eventos, a travel industry news outlet from Brazil, the new brand will be made official and christened next Tuesday. The event with Azul’s executive team will take place at TwoFlex’s hangar in Jundiaí, a city an hour away from São Paulo that also serves as a logistics hub. Although a letter to TwoFlex’s employees from the company’s previous owners had already disclosed the new name, it is only now that it will be made official. Additionally, a livery is yet to be announced.
The article mentions the “new” airline has a core goal to “develop regional aviation in Brazil, reaching smaller cities and communities and connecting the regions to Azul’s network of domestic and international flights.”
According to data by Aeromuseu, TwoFlex currently operates a fleet of two Cessna 208 Caravans and 14 Cessna 208B Grand Caravans. It has bases spread throughout Brazil, operating them as demand requires, both in cargo and passenger configurations.
After the takeover by Azul, the company’s services were already in high demand. Routes included in its network in the Amazonas and Mato Grosso states have already begun selling on its new parent company’s website. Additionally, Azul increased TwoFlex’s destinations in Amazonas and started a number of flights connecting its fortress hub in Campinas to cities in São Paulo state, in an effort to restart its operations in said cities and to help on rebuilding its own connectivity.
First Major Airline with Regional Subsidiary Since 2009
By closer meshing TwoFlex’s operations with its own, Azul repeats what TAM (now LATAM Brasil) did in 2009 as it bought the struggling Pantanal Linhas Aéreas. Pantanal operated five ATR 42-300s from São Paulo’s Congonhas Airport, which made it very valuable to any major airline, as Congonhas is São Paulo’s preferred airport for the corporate passenger and still has massive slot restrictions to this day.
As soon as it could, TAM transfered Pantanal’s ATR operations to the less-constrained Guarulhos Airport, and it granted the airline two Airbus A319s and one Airbus A320 to operate in Congonhas. For almost a year, these jets operated in full TAM colors with a small sticker “A serviço da Pantanal” (on service to Pantanal) under the cockpit windows, until the company was fully absorbed in July 2011. Effectively, this was a seen move for TAM to get more slots at Congonhas.
Similarly, one of the biggest reasons of Azul’s TwoFlex takeover were slots at the same airport. Azul Conecta owns 14 daily slots on Congonhas’s auxiliary runway, which supports aircraft as big as the ATR 72. It is unclear, however, what Azul will decide to do regarding these slots, as the airport is now far from its maximum usage capacity.
The purchase of TwoFlex also put a brake on GOL’s cost-cutting intentions, as the airline used the partner’s Cessna Caravans to, in some Brazilian states, connect smaller cities and obtain tax incentives for fuel as a result.
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