MIAMI – Azores Airlines (S4), owned by the SATA Group, faces a lawsuit from Air Lease Corporation claiming nearly €15m related to contracts for an Airbus A321neo aircraft at S4.

The lawsuit is related to an agreement between S4 and Air Lease Corporation made in 2016 and comes amid a time of heavy losses for S4 and sister airline SATA Air Azores (SP) as the pandemic continues to ravage airlines across the world.

Between January and June 2020, S4 had losses of €34.5m on flights to and from the Archipelago while SP has losses of €7.6m on flights within the Azores.

Air Azores Dash 8-Q402 Photo: By Pedro Aragão – Gallery page, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A Record of Losses

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough for S4 and SP, it must be noted that the SATA group already had losses of around €53m in 2019.

The group has also requested state aid of €133m, approved by Brussels, but necessitating a procedure by the European Commission demonstrating that three recent capital increases to the group were not state aid.

Despite financial difficulties, S4 in January inked a codeshare deal with Air France (AF).

With COVID-19 further exposing problems at the SATA group along with competition in connecting both North America and Europe to the Azores, the operations of S4 and SP would be best served if the group uses the pandemic as a catalyst for improving their overall business model.

“Breathe” special scheme. Named Marciano Veiga Photo: By BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada – Azores Airlines Airbus A321-200N CS-TSF, CC BY-SA 2.0