Brazil’s Azul Airlines plans to sublease 53 of its Embraer E190s/195s to accelerate its move to the more fuel-efficient E2 generation, a transition it now aims to complete by the end of 2022. The airline has agreed to sublease 28 of the airplanes to David Neeleman’s U.S. start-up, Breeze Aviation. Neeleman is Azul’s chairman.
Meanwhile, Azul and LOT Polish Airlines have signed a letter of intent covering the sublease of 18 E195s and options for up to 14 more. LOT previously had acquired seven E195s from Azul. “With this, in 2021 LOT will be the largest Embraer operator in Europe and one of the largest in the world,” said LOT chief executive Rafał Milczarski.
Azul noted that it has retained outside consultants and auditors to ensure that the Breeze deal features the same conditions as the LOT sublease.
Azul continues to grow aggressively by serving new markets in Brazil, and boasts the largest number of destinations, routes, and daily flights of any airline in the country. It operates Airbus, Embraer, and ATR aircraft to serve its varied destinations and recently announced plans to further diversify its fleet by acquiring regional carrier TwoFlex and its fleet of 18 Grand Caravans. Azul took delivery of its first of 57 E195 E2s last September as part of a plan to double the size of its fleet over the next five years.
“Fuel is about 35 percent more expensive in Brazil than in other parts of the world, so it’s essential that Azul begin operating these next-generation aircraft as soon as possible,” Azul CEO John Rodgerson affirmed in a statement.