The Brazilian low-cost carrier Azul Linhas Aereas is going to launch a new regional airline next week. The new operator will be called Azul Conecta and fly to 36 destinations across the largest country in South America. What else do we know?
What can we expect from Azul Conecta?
In January 2020, Azul bought the small regional airline TwoFlex. The sale was worth 123 million reais (US$22.6 million). By that time, TwoFlex offered regular passenger and cargo services to 39 destinations in Brazil, of which Azul served only three.
TwoFlex also had 14 daily departure and arrival slots at Congonhas International Airport in Sao Paulo. It had a fleet of 17 owned Cessna Caravan aircraft with a capacity for nine passengers.
With that in mind, Azul Linhas Aereas confirmed to Simple Flying that it is officially launching its new regional carrier next week, on 11 August. That day, they will launch the new official brand of Azul Conecta.
In January, John Rodgerson, Azul’s CEO, said,
“Over the past ten years, Azul has led the development of regional aviation in Brazil by serving more than 100 domestic destinations and bringing new service to more than 50. Our goal is to continue bringing critical air service to new and diverse parts of Brazil. TwoFlex will be the perfect way to reach these cities and communities.”
Is it smart to launch an airline in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic?
When Azul bought TwoFlex, the coronavirus pandemic was still a small outbreak of a SARS-like disease in Wuhan, China. At that time, no one was predicting the crisis we’re currently living on.
Still, Azul kept on with the plan and its days away from launching a new carrier. We think it is a good idea.
Domestic travel is going to bounce faster from the current crisis. Brazil is a big country with many cities underserved, even when there are three top airlines in Azul, GOL, and LATAM. Nearly 100 million of the country’s 211 million residents have never traveled by aircraft, according to CAPA.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
According to a market analysis from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Brazil has 2,499 airports. Approximately 98% of the country’s air passenger movements were concentrated in 65 airports, with 31 being in major cities. Meanwhile, Azul had the most significant number of cities served in the country with 105.
We can see that there’s a market for a small regional carrier like Azul Conecta. It is even better if we consider that the planes that the airline will use will likely be the Cessna Caravan. This investment should do well.
What’s going on with Azul lately?
Like the rest of Latin American carriers, Azul is currently struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. In September, it expects to operate 407 peak daily departures. It would be approximately 55% of Azul’s domestic capacity and 45% of total capacity.
Since April, Azul has increased its domestic capacity by a factor of five, it said. Also, in September, the low-cost airline will add eight more domestic destinations to its route network, totaling 88.
“We are glad to see that passenger demand is returning, which is already allowing us to be at 45% of last year’s capacity,” said Abhi Shah, Azul’s Chief Revenue Officer.
Finally, at the end of the second quarter, Azul had a liquidity position of US$424 million, increasing from US$405 million it had in March.
Are you excited about Azul Conecta? Will you fly on it? Let us know in the comments.