The U.S. Department of Transportation and the FAA have approved Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras to begin selling tickets for its first international scheduled flights to and from the United States.
Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras, Brazil’s third-largest airline after TAM Airlines and Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, will begin daily non-stop service between Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (IATA code FLL) and Viracopos/Campinas International Airport (VCP) near São Paulo, the largest city in the Americas, on December 2.
Viracopos-based Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras will quickly follow its Fort Lauderdale Hollywood route launch with daily service between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and the city of Campinas two weeks later, on December 15.
The December 15 date is auspicious in that it marks the sixth anniversary of the fast-growing Brazilian carrier’s first commercial services.
Fares for the new services start from $888 round-trip, including taxes and government fees. This initially quoted fare is for low-season travel in economy class.
Azul will operate its U.S. services to and from its new, $1.5 billion terminal at Viracopos-Campinas International Airport, located a 60-minute drive or bus journey from the city of São Paulo.
Since its formation by U.S.-Brazilian airline entrepreneur David Neeleman in 2008, the airline has transformed Viracopos-Campinas into Brazil’s largest airline hub, serving 55 destinations on a non-stop basis with more than 175 daily flights.
Passengers flying from FLL or MCO can quickly connect on Azul to and from destinations such as Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia and Iguaçu Falls, according to the airline.
Azul’s flight between Campinas and Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport will depart VCP at 11:27 p.m. daily from December 2, ariving at FLL at 5:00 a.m. the following morning, local time.
In the other direction, Azul’s flight will leave FLL at 7:00 p.m., landing at VCP at 6:20 a.m. the following morning, local time.
Campinas is three hours ahead of Fort Lauderdale in terms of time zone, so Azul’s outbound and the inbound sectors are both scheduled to have a block time of approximately eight and a half hours.
Azul’s flight to Orlando will leave VCP at 11:04 a.m. daily from December 15, reaching MCO at 5:10 p.m. the same day, local time.
In the other direction, its flight will push back from the gate at MCO at 7:45 p.m., touching down at VCP at 7;35 a.m. the following morning, local time. In each direction, Azul’s flight is scheduled to have a block time of approximately nine hours.
“Azul is the one airline that truly serves all of Brazil. With 104 destinations throughout the country, Azul unites Brazil with convenient and frequent connections from Campinas,” said Neeleman, CEO and founder of Azul.
In the six years since its first flight on December 15, 2008, Azul already has flown more than 95 million passengers. According to the airline, it currently operates one-third of Brazil’s daily departures, offering more than 850 flights a day.
Today Azul employs 10,000 people and operates a fleet of 145 aircraft ‒ more than 80 of them being Embraer 195 and Embraer 190 E-Jets, and almost all of the rest of them being ATR 72-500 and ATR 72-600 turboprops ‒ on a network linking 104 destinations throughout Brazil.
However, Azul is taking eight Airbus A330-200 widebodies on lease to operate its fledgling long-haul network between Brazil and Florida and potentially other North American or other intercontinental destinations, and also holds commitments to lease five Airbus A350-900 widebodies in the future.
For more information on Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras, visit www.flyazul.com.