Azul Linhas Aereas announced changes to its fleet plan on Tuesday. The Brazilian airline closed a deal to sub-lease 53 E195-E1 jets to LOT and Breeze Aviation. To replace the jets that have been used since the company’s founding in 2008, Azul confirmed the expansion of Embraer’s order for E2 aircraft, which will receive 75 units in total instead of 51, as previously forecast.
Azul’s statement, however, does not clarify whether the 24 extra planes will be of the same model, although it is expected to. In addition to expanding its order for the new Embraer jet, the airline also accelerated the receiving schedule, which will allow E1s to be taken out of service at a faster rate. Now, its main aircraft will leave the scene in 2022 and not 2023, as before. This year the aircraft’s fleet will drop from 55 to just 27 units.
At the same time, the E195-E2 will jump from the current four planes to 29 jets this year, surpassing its older brother in numbers in the fleet. In 2021, the total of this variant will reach 48 planes, when then there will be a more gradual growth until reaching 75 jets three years later.
The appreciation of the E195-E2’s role also affected long-term planning in relation to the A320neo family. Azul continues to forecast a fleet of 80 Airbus single-aisle aircraft, however, this level will only be reached in 2024 and no longer 2023. The pace will therefore drop slightly: in 2020, for example, it expects to count with 47 jets instead of 52 units – today it operates with 38 planes, one of which is the A321neo.
Fleet of 200 planes
By 2022, the company plans to complete the withdrawal of older jets and still expand its fleet to 170 aircraft, made up almost entirely of new generation jets, including the A330-900neo. The benefit of this renovation will be reflected in lower operating costs, the possibility of offering long-haul routes both on the continent and in transoceanic destinations and also in greater comfort for passengers.
Speaking of widebodies, the A330 fleet should initially remain with 12 planes, however, the last one should arrive in 2022 only. The ATR turboprops will keep the 33 units active, one more than before. At the end of the planned period, Azul intends to reach the impressive mark of 200 aircraft in its fleet. These figures do not include the impact of the future acquisition of TwoFlex.
“We ended 2019 with 42 new generation aircraft and we couldn’t be more excited about the economy, as well as the high quality experience on board, that they offer to our customers. The A320neos and E2s are the main pillars of our goal of significantly increase revenue and profitability, while growing responsibly over the next five years, “explained Rodgerson.
Azul, however, was keen to note that the plan reflects only what it expects from now on, but that it can (and should) change over time. “Azul has the flexibility to reduce or increase these numbers, depending on market conditions,” explained the company.