Azul will start its first flights with the A320neo from Santos Dumont airport in Rio de Janeiro and Congonhas in São Paulo, Brazil. It will be the debut of the aircraft at the two central airports of the largest Brazilian cities and will take place after the certification process with ANAC, the Brazilian civil aviation authority.
However, the 174-seat aircraft will not take flights between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the country’s most congested route and called the “air bridge”. Instead, Azul preferred to use the Airbus aircraft on routes between Santos Dumont and Campinas, Porto Alegre and Brasília, in addition to routes between Congonhas and Cuiabá and Recife.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to operate at Santos Dumont and Congonhas with the A320neo. This is one of the newest aircraft in our fleet and, among other differentials, is equipped with live TV. Soon, all of them will also have Wi-Fi on board, which, for sure, will contribute even more to the experience and satisfaction of our customers. At the same time, with the A320, we also increased the offer of daily seats on these bases by almost 50%”, explained John Rodgerson, Azul’s CEO.
Currently, Azul has been operating at both airports with smaller aircraft such as the ATR 72 turboprop and Embraer E195, which offer 70 to 118 seats only.
To operate at Santos Dumont, which has a main runway of 1,320 meters, it was necessary to equip the aircraft with the SHARP (Short Airfield Package) that includes aerodynamic and flight control modifications. Among them is the composite panel modification to the wing-root fairing which optimize airflow, and enable slower approach speeds.
Currently, Azul has 40 units of the A320neo, the largest fleet of the model in South America. LATAM also operates the jet, but in a very small quantity, of only six planes. The airline, which used the A319 exclusively between Rio and São Paulo, recently introduced the A320 on the busiest route in the country, but in the classic variant.