Azores Airlines Launches New Not-Quite-Transatlantic Route

Fans of unusual air routes will love the latest route announcement from Azores Airlines. It is launching a new route in summer 2021, from the Azores to Bermuda. Operated by the A321neo, this is a 3,580 kilometers route within the Atlantic Ocean.

Azores A321LR
Azores Airlines operates the A321neo and A321LR. Photo: Airbus

Flights to Bermuda

Azores Airlines is a Portuguese airline based in Ponta Delgada, Azores. It operates a small fleet of Airbus narrowbody aircraft on routes to Portugal, the US, Canada, Germany, and a few destinations in the Caribbean. These destinations will be joined in summer 2021 by Bermuda.

The airline will launch a seasonal weekly flight each Sunday between June 6th and September 19th 2021 (according to details obtained by blog One Mile At A Time). It will operate the following flight pair:

  • S4227 Ponta Delgada (PDL) to Bermuda (BDA): 08:15 to 10:25
  • S4228 Bermuda (BDA) to Ponta Delgada (PDL) : 11:40 to 19:25

It will be operated by an A321neo aircraft. Azores Airlines currently has four A321neo and A321LR aircraft, alongside two much older A320-200 aircraft. These have been introduced since December 2017, with the latest arriving just in October 2020 (according to Planespotters.net). Simple Flying reviewed the A321neo on a flight from Lisbon in 2019.

Azores Airlines A321neo
An Azores Airlines A321neo will operate the route. Photo: BriYYZ via Wikimedia

Is it transatlantic?

A new route like this would not usually be especially interesting. But for anyone who likes unusual routes, this has to be a good contender. It operates between two relatively remote oceanic locations, several hundred miles from both the European and United States mainland.

Azores
The 3,580-kilometer route is in the middle of the Atlantic. Image: GCMap.com

Would this even count as a transatlantic flight? History would suggest not. Traditional ‘transatlantic’ sea voyages would start and end at a point on the continents. And the first transatlantic flight in 1919 came about as a response to a Daily Mail price to fly “from any point in the United States of America, Canada or Newfoundland and any point in Great Britain or Ireland in 72 continuous hours.”

Some Twitter users responding to the route announcement suggest it could more appropriately be called a semi-transatlantic or intra-atlantic flight. They also point out the very appropriate tagline that Azores Airlines used to use – “The Atlantic and You.”

Financial trouble

The announcement of a new route in the near future is a good sign for Azores Airlines. Like all airlines, it has suffered during the pandemic and slowdown in aviation in 2020. In August, though, EU funding via the Portuguese government was confirmed to help the airline restructure following heavy financial losses.

This came after fears the airline was verging on bankruptcy. This funding was intended only to aid daily operational costs, with the airline critical for the Azores’ connectivity. Around the same time, the airline announced it was suspending some flights to Boston and Toronto (it had only resumed these in July, following the grounding of its fleet at the height of the pandemic). It is certainly good now to see it planning new flights.

Would you like to share any thoughts on this route or Azores Airlines? Who do you think the route will appeal to? Let us know in the comments. 

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