Azores Airlines has submitted schedules to OAG to begin a brand-new Funchal, Maderia, to New York JFK service on behalf of tour operator Inovtravel. While not yet available bookable at the time of writing, expect it to be officially announced shortly. The airline has a long history of serving the US and Canada from Ponta Delgada, the Azores, focused on ex-pat demand.
Azores Airlines has filed to operate Funchal to New York JFK once-weekly from November 1st using the 186-seat A321neo (non-LR). Some 21 round-trips are planned to last until March 21st, just before the end of the northern hemisphere winter season. The planned schedule, based on mid-November, is as follows.
- S4263: leaving Funchal at 16:00 and arriving JFK at 18:50
- S4262: departing JFK at 20:50, arriving back at 08:05 the following day
The 3,158-mile route would have a seven-hour and 50 minute block time outbound and six hours and 15 minutes back. The big difference is, of course, because of wind direction. The aircraft used is scheduled to arrive from Ponta Delgada at 14:40 and depart back to the Azores at 09:35 the following day.
Azores Airlines to the US and Canada
While Azores Airlines operated one-offs from Boston to Funchal in 2005, 2006, 2016, and 2017, its network to North America naturally revolves around Ponta Delgada and Terceira in the Azores, the so-called Hawaii of Europe.
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From September 2021, the carrier offers Ponta Delgada to Boston (up to five-weekly) and Toronto (three-weekly), both year-round. It also has Terceira to Boston and Toronto (both once-weekly) until late October. Terceira-Boston is the shortest transatlantic A321LR route, while Chicago-Stockholm is the longest.
In 2019, Azores Airlines served Montreal from Ponta Delgada (a very long-standing route) and also Terceira to Oakland, 4,907 miles away. Oakland, in California, has been served non-stop since 2014, and between 2007-2014 variously via Toronto Hamilton or Toronto Pearson.
Why are they operated?
Existing routes to Toronto and Boston are driven by those originally whose background is originally from the Azores. Over 500,000 Portuguese nationals and those of Portuguese heritage live in Canada, especially in the Toronto area.
The Greater Boston area has the highest number of Portuguese-Americans in the US, with the San Francisco Bay area the third-highest. Azores Airlines revolves around this ethnic demand (and tourism to the island), with easy connections to the Portuguese mainland also available.
This ethnic demand mainly drove TAP Air Portugal to open Ponta Delgada to Boston and Toronto in 2020. The country’s flag carrier used A321LRs, a type keenly used now – along with the A330-900 – from Lisbon and Porto.
Azores Airlines’ A321neos
As you’d expect, the Portuguese carrier’s fleet is not large, comprising seven aircraft: three A320s and four A321s. It has two A321neos (CS-TSF and TSG) and two A321neo LR variants (CS-TSH and TSI).
Its LRs have 190 seats (174 in economy and 16 in business), against 186 for its non-LR neos (170 in economy and 16 in business). ch-aviation.com shows that its LRs have an average age of 1.5 years, against 3.6 years for its neos. They replaced its A310-300s.
What are your thoughts on Funchal to JFK? Let us know in the comments.