Azul Airlines plans to fly internationally for the first time between São Paulo, Brazil, and several cities in the U.S., starting early next year, the Brazilian regional airline announced Wednesday.
An ostensible change of heart on the part of the chairman of Campinas, Brazil-based low-fare regional airline Azul will allow for the creation of the country’s third largest carrier, pending antitrust authorities’ approval of a plan to merge Azul and fellow Brazilian regional airline Trip.
Azul (full name Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras) has confirmed options for 10 Embraer 195 jets valued at $478 million at list prices, close on the heels of ordering 11 only four months ago. This takes the total airplanes ordered by the Brazilian low-cost carrier to 62 (57 E195s and five E190s). A smaller order for two Embraer E-175, placed by Belavia of Minsk (in Belarus), was also announced.
Embraer won an order for 11 more 118-seat E195s from Brazilian airline Azul in late October, not long after New York-based JetBlue canceled an order for 12 E190s. The contract with Azul, owned by JetBlue co-founder David Neeleman, calls for deliveries to start early in 2013. Embraer places the value of the contract at $497 million.
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Azul Linhas Aereos, Brazil’s newest discount airline, registered a 79.71-percent load factor and carried 2.2 million passengers last year, its first full year of operation, and the fledgling carrier expects to turn a profit this year.
Flybe yesterday placed what will likely be the biggest regional airliner deal of the Farnborough show week, committing to buy up to 140 Embraer 175 aircraft with a potential combined value of $5 billion. The contract signed here includes 35 firm orders (worth $1.3 billion), 65 options and 40 purchase rights.
A group of former JetBlue executives this week launched an operation designed around the Embraer Phenom 100. The company, JetSuite, placed a firm order for 50 of the very light jets with options for 50 more, and it plans to lease the aircraft to customers. First deliveries are expected in April next year.
David Neeleman’s new Brazilian airline venture appeared to have taken a giant leap toward fruition today, as Embraer announced that the JetBlue founder signed a contract to buy 36 of the 108- to 122-seat E195 jets and take options on another 20. The deal also secured purchase rights on another 20 airplanes, which, if exercised, would raise the total value of the orders to $3 billion.
A chill in the air and an unseasonably hard rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm last month in São José dos Campos, Brazil, as U.S. carrier JetBlue accepted delivery of Embraer’s first 190 twinjet.
The ceremonies in the Embraer hangar opened with an amateur musical video performance by members of the Embraer team responsible for designing and building the 100-passenger airliner.