It may not have the impact of Christopher Columbus turning up in 1492, but the first Airbus A330neo to be delivered to the Americas has gone to Brazil’s Azul Linha Aereas.
The aircraft, leased from Avolon and one of 15 ordered by the Dublin-based company, will be used Azul to expand its international operations between Brazil and Europe and the United States.
It comes in a three-class configuration, sporting the Airspace cabin with 34 business class, 96 economy Xtra and 168 economy seats.
The more efficient neos will progressively replace older A330-200s and boast 25 percent lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation competing aircraft.
“We are very proud to be the first A330neo operator in the Americas,’’ Azul chief executive John Rodgerson said in the announcement.
“This new aircraft will play a key role in the expansion of our international markets supporting our strategy of having a modern and fuel-efficient fleet.”
The airline was established in 2008 by JetBlue founder David Neeleman and has grown rapidly since.
It is now Brazil’s biggest carrier by number of flights and cities served and offers 820 daily flights to 113 destinations.
Azul said in March it expected to grow capacity by 18 to 20 percent in 2019.
This included a 16 to 18 percent rise in domestic available seat kilometres due to the replacement of smaller aircraft with A320neos and a 20 to 25 percent boost to international capacity mostly related to the introduction of three A330s.
It expected the proportion of ASKs flown by next-generation aircraft to rise from 30 percent in 2018 to 40 percent in 2019 with the addition during the year of 12 A320neos, six Embraer E2s and the three A330neos.
It also planned to remove 15 Embraer E-195 E-1s to end the year with 129 operating aircraft.
Watch the Airbus video of the making of the Azul A330neo: