Yesterday, Brazilian Low-Cost Carrier Azul announced an order for 5 next-generation Airbus A330-900neo aircraft from Avolon, an international leasing company. Deliveries will start in late 2018, and the aircraft will be used to strengthen Azul’s flights to the United States and Europe. When their planes are delivered, Azul will be the only airline in South America and one of the first airlines in the world to operate the aircraft.
“We are very excited to start growing again,” said Azul CEO John Rodgerson. “These new planes will play a key role in the expansion of our international markets supporting our strategy of having a modern and fuel-efficient fleet.”
“We are delighted to partner with Azul to agree to the future delivery of five Airbus A330-900neo aircraft,” said Felipe Campos, Avolon’s Head of Latin America. “These aircraft offer Azul the latest in fuel saving technologies combined with best-in-class comfort, reliability, and operational efficiency. This agreement demonstrates the strong market demand for young, fuel-efficient modern technology aircraft which is central to Avolon’s portfolio offering.”
The A330-900neo will come with a capacity for 298 seats, which is 27 more than current A330s in high-density configurations. Azul will divide the planes into three cabins. There will be 34 business class seats, 108 Economy Extra seats, and 15 Economy seats.
Azul has been expressing interest in the A330neo product for a while. Founder David Neeleman said that the airline needs more widebody planes to ease current aircraft and allow more international expansion.
“We can’t do it with the seven [A330s] we have,” Neeleman told FlightGlobal last month.
The new planes come with an advanced passenger cabin called “Air Space by Airbus”. It is marketed as a way to combine an enhanced experience for passengers and optimum performance based on comfort, ambience, service, and design. The A330neo also consumes 14% less fuel per seat than the current A330ceo aircraft, making it the most cost effective medium range widebody on the market.
“The A330neo builds on the A330’s proven economics, versatility, and reliability while reducing fuel consumption by a further 14% per seat,” said Rafael Alonso, President of Airbus Latin America and Caribbean. “We take great pride in Azul continuing to put their trust in our most efficient single and twin-aisle product families, allowing them to further expand their fleet with minimum change benefiting from our fleet commonality, which is unique to Airbus.”
The A330neo was launched at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2014 with two models: the A330-800neo and the A330-900neo. The family features the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. The A330neo will have a range increase of 400 nautical miles compared to previous A330s.
Azul is the second largest airline in Brazil. It has 739 daily flights to 102 destinations in Brazil with a fleet of 123 Airbus and Embraer aircraft. In June, the airline had 202 domestic and international non-stop flights. Lisbon is Azul’s only European destination; it serves Fort Lauderdale and Orlando in the US. The airline says that the new A330neo aircraft it will receive will allow it to add frequencies and explore new international destinations.
Featured photo from Wikimedia Commons