MIAMI – Azul Brazilian Airlines (AD) is taking a different approach to recover the market this month. As the pandemic progressed, AD ops went down from 950 to 70 daily flights. But since August, the carrier began to grow.

Unlike other LLCs, AD does not try to steal legacy routes but instead grows its network, not with a typical point-to-point map; instead, AD uses a hub-and-spoke approach. This is the unconventional strategy that has allowed it to have a schedule this month featuring about 500 departures a day serving 89 cities,.

Another unconventional trait is AD’s wide-ranging fleet. The company has 145 aircraft that include A320, A330, ATR 72, and Embraer 190 and 195. To surpass its operational costs, AD connects traffic between unserved smaller cities and major urban centers for a profitable network.

By introducing or taking service to secondary and third-tier airports, Azul has expanded the market. This strategy was reaffirmed by the launch in August of a regional carrier, Azul Conecta (2F), serving 36 destinations using 17 Cessna Caravan aircraft.

Azul Chief Revenue Officer, Abhi Shah revealed in an airline customer conference that AD’s strategy is focused on playing to the company’s competitive strengths. While the carrier ended Q2 2020 in a relatively solid cash position, Shah added that the current circumstances have nevertheless been challenging and painful.

Azul ATR 72-600. Photo: Rafael Luiz.

New Operations During the Pandemic

Azul has implemented projections on the floor to show customers social distance at 17 airports. Despite having reduced passenger services, the airline has invested in small package shipments for e-commerce companies.

This allows for aircraft to stay operative instead of remaining on the ground, the latter which does involve a more dificult operational restart.

With the strengthened strategy, the Brazilian airline has grown the market by adding services to minor airports and increased its presence by launching 2F right in the middle of the pandemic. Not bad for an LLC.

Featured photo: Azul Airbus A330neo. Photo: Clément Alloing.