While performing Azul Airlines flight number AD-4374 from Belem, PA to Macapa, AP in Brazil last Wednesday, an Airbus A321-200N burst a tire after landing. Aircraft registration PR-YJB, carrying 203 passengers and seven crew, had landed safely at Macapa International Airport – Alberto Alcolumbre (MCP) when it burst a tire during rollout.
According to The Aviation Herald, the less than six-month-old passenger jet returned to service about 26 hours later.
Azul is looking to increase flights
In other Azul Linhas Aereas news, the Brazilian low-cost airline is looking to increase flights following a challenging second quarter brought on by the coronavirus crisis. The São Paulo-based airline reported a second-quarter loss of R$2.9 billion ($540 million), down 85% for the same period in 2019.
When speaking about the COVID-19 battle that the airline was facing Brazilian/American founder and chairman, David Neeleman called the current situation “the most challenging time in aviation history.”
When speaking to analysts about how the airline planned to weather the storm on August 13, Neeleman said he expected to see an improvement and that Azul was ready.
“Azul’s fleet has flexibility like no other airline in Brazil, and we are using this to our advantage,” says Neeleman. “We have aircraft ranging from nine seats to 214 seats in domestic markets, which allows us to customize our network to the evolving demand scenario.”
Azul is matching aircraft with demand
One way Azul has adjusted to the demand for air travel is by deploying aircraft to match bookings. It has done this by putting smaller planes on routes usually flown by bigger jets from its A320s and ATR72s down to Azul Conecta nine-seater Cessna Caravan turboprops.
So far, the leisure market seems to be recovering first, with the airline, hoping that business customers will slowly start to come back as COVID-19 fears ease. The current plan is to have 404 daily flights to 88 destinations by September, which will equate to around 43% of pre-coronavirus levels. By December, Azul predicts that that number will rise to 60%.
“We are confident in the progress so far and expect this sequential growth to continue as the economy reopens,” Neeleman added.
Despite the coronavirus losses, Azul has R$6.6 billion ( $1.2 billion), a figure Neeleman says “is sufficient to see us through this challenging crisis.”
Regarding new aircraft orders, Azul has deferred deliveries of 82 aircraft, including 23 Airbus jets and 59 Embraer aircraft, to 2024.
With Azul being a Brazilian airline, it is no surprise that it had 59 Embraer E-Jet E2 family aircraft on order, which almost certainly are now deferred along with all requests for Airbus A321neos and A330-900s.
Azul looks poised to do well
While other South and Central American carriers struggle to cope with COVID-19, Azul seems to be handling the situation quite well. In July, the airline sold its indirect six % stake in TAP Air Portugal for nearly R65 million ($12.15 million). It also launched a new subsidiary called Azul Conecta with a fleet of 17 Cessna Caravan aircraft.
When Azul was founded, the intention was to connect Brazilian towns and cities that were underserved by air. By introducing Azul Conecta, more places than ever will now have flights.
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