Azores Airlines has become the latest global operator to select the Airbus A321LR to support its long-range needs and support its network requirement linking the archipelago in the mid-Atlantic Ocean with destinations across Europe and North America. The airline is to lease six new A321neos from Air Lease Corporation (ALC), including four of the adapted long-range variants.
The new aircraft will be delivered between the final quarter of 2017 and early 2021 with the first of the A321LR variants arriving in early 2019. They will directly replace the airline’s current fleet of A310s and A320s providing adaptability across a transatlantic network that includes Boston, Oakland, Providence, Toronto and Montreal in North America and many major western European cities.
The A321neo was deemed the most suitable single aircraft to support the Azores Airlines network of medium transatlantic routes, offering a 6,000 kilometre flight range carrying around 200 passengers plus cargo. The A321neo lowers per seat fuel consumption by more than 35%, is quieter, and delivers environmental advantages including a 60% reduction in carbon emissions versus the A310s they will replace, manufacturer data suggests.
“We are very pleased with this historic aircraft renewal project and the commitment to lease six new A321neos with ALC, who has a long-term business relationship with SATA. These aircraft are ideal new jets for our airline and ALC provided outstanding creativity, economics and strategic advantages in this important transaction,” said Paolo Menezes, chief executive officer, Azores Airlines.
“Our mission is to bring the Azores to the world and the world to the Azores and we are happy to be investing in the Airbus A321neo aircraft to continue achieving this,” he added.
Previously known as SATA Internacional, the Portuguese carrier Azores Airlines has been providing important connectivity in and out of the Azores since the 1990s, while also providing essential air services within the archipelago.
After reducing capacity during the current decade after trimming its European network, it is due to return to growth this year with published schedules from OAG showing a 13.8% growth in network capacity. This has been mainly facilitated by a growth in existing markets but also the introduction of flights to Theodore Francis Green Memorial State Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, a market last previously served in 2008.