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Brazil's Newest Airline Kicks Off with New Routes, Focus on Safety and Comfort


Photo courtesy of Azul

Azul - Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras enters the Brazil air travel market offering competitive fares, heightened safety features, in-flight details for greater comfort and point-to-point service where no such option existed before.

Brazil-born Azul founder and Chairman David Neeleman (founder of Morris Air and JetBlue) said, during the unveiling of the company's corporate identity in May 2008, that the brightly colorful, pixelized map in the logo represents the company's intention to serve and integrate Brazil. Azul fares and features should be attractive enough to lure passengers away not only from other airlines, but from bus travel as well.

How the Name was Chosen

The company launched a contest to choose the name. Over 150,000 votes were cast in two phases before the two finalists were picked.

Although the other finalist - Samba - had a slight winning margin, a board of executives chose Azul ("Blue"). The first people to vote for both names have won free Azul lifetime passes.

First Flights

Azul launched its first flights - Campinas-Salvador and Campinas-Porto Alegre - on December 15, 2008. By the end of December, eight daily flights connecting Campinas and Salvador and ten daily Campinas-Porto Alegre flights were available.

On January 14, 2009, Azul will start flying Vitória-Curitiba and Vitória-Porto Alegre.

Azul's goal is to be serving 25 cities in Brazil by 2012, with a fleet of 42 Brazil-made Embraer E-195 jets.

The Azul Fleet and Services

Azul starts 2009 with five aircraft - Embraer 190, with 106 seats, and Embraer 195, with 118 seats. The company plans to receive a new airplane a month and close 2009 with 15 E-jets. In five years, the expected fleet growth should bring that number to 78 aircraft.

Aircraft and service bonuses include:

  • Heightened safety thanks to dual Head Up Displays (HUDs). HUDs display data on a crystal surface at eye level, allowing both pilots to manage information without looking away from the usual viewpoint
  • Two rows of window and aisles seats (no middle seats)
  • 76 centimeters between seats, allowing for more leg room
  • Espaço Azul - 16 seats separated by 86 centimeters, for an additional R$30
  • A video screen for each seat, with open and satellite TV
  • Several kinds of free snacks and drinks available in the in-flight service (no carts).

Air Travel Safety

Before starting operations, Azul became a member of the CNPAA, Brazil's National Committee for the Prevention of Aeronautic Accidents.

Azul's emphasis on safety is all the more relevant considering the crises affecting air travel safety in Brazil in recent years. The commitment to nonstop service is another plus in face of the delays at airports, a reality Brazil still struggles with, despite improvements in relation to the crises of 2006 and 2007.

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