FARNBOROUGH 2010: Azul signs for 20 ATR 72-600s with 20 options

Brazilian low-fare carrier Azul has signed a deal to buy 20 ATR 72-600s with 20 options.

The airline’s chairman and CEO David Neeleman explained the purchase, saying, “This is my fourth airline and this is the first time I’ve ever bought turboprops. I started this journey because so few people in Brazil were flying. We were seeing cities of half a million people with little or no service and for those who did fly it was very expensive. Now we’re looking forward to bringing service to more communities.

“There used to be 300 cities in Brazil with air service, now there are 100 even though the number of passengers has risen. So we have 40 target cities with populations greater than half a million to aim at immediately.”

ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato commented, “This is the start of a long partnership together.”

Asked if there is any intention to put LiveTV on the turboprops, Neeleman replied, “Well the perfect mission for the ATR is 1 hour to 1 hr 30 minutes, so we don’t believe that warrants LiveTV but we’ll have the dropdown system which comes as standard on the aircraft.

In choosing the ATR over the competitor Q400, Neeleman explained that in Brazil, fuel through Petrobras is expensive. “The fuel burn difference between this [the ATR] and the Q400 wasn’t even close. And we didn’t need the extra six seats that the Q400 has. In other people’s conditions things may be different, but for us this was the right aircraft. It burns 62% less fuel than the E-Jets and though we love our Embraers, there are places where they cannot go.”

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net
Farnborough, UK

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