July 6, 2022
Is Azul Finally Getting Its A350s?

Is Azul Finally Getting Its A350s?

DALLAS – Low-cost carrier Azul Brazilian Airlines (AD) had ordered four Airbus A350s back in 2014, but while none ever made it to the fleet, there are some signs that it’s finally happening.

Of the four, one A350-900 did take to the skies and flew to Abu Dhabi, UAE; it bears registration F-WTAO and is believed to get a new paint job and maintenance run at Etihad’s Engineering Hangars, according to AEROIN and based on information received from sources close to the Brazilian company. 

Tarmac Aerodave posted via Twitter a highlight of AD’s A350-900 return to the skies after sitting idle in France for two years at Tarbes-Lourdes Airport (LDE) in southern France.

Why Didn’t Azul Take Them Earlier?

Ordered in 2014, the first of the jets were supposed to have joined the fleet in 2017, but that never happened as the carrier didn’t want to add an extra widebody and instead focused on using its Airbus A330-900 on long-haul routes.

So where did the A350s go? The jets were taken by Hainan Airlines (HU) and were operated by Hong Kong Airlines (HX) up until the pandemic hit the Asian country, and immediately these jets were sent to storage.

Also to note, HU was a shareholder in AD back then. The four A350s have an average of nearly five years and the first of them is expected to possibly join the airline by the end of 2022.

  • MSN 168 left Lourdes-Tarbes (France) for Abu Dhabi on June 1, where it will undergo maintenance.
  • MSN 153 is in Lourdes-Tarbes but remains in better condition.
  • MSN 187 is the same as above.
  • MSN 124 has been stationed at Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH) since February 2022.

Tarmac’s post on the social network gave a positive outlook on the A350s, saying, “What an achievement! We are deeply involved in the entry into service of the A350 at Azul. This is by far our most important post-COVID project.”

During an interview last year, John Rodgerson, the CEO of AD, said, “We will not receive the A350 without withdrawing the A330.” The Brazilian LCC still has seven A330-200s that are 20 years old.

Given the rapid growth and demand coming out of COVID19 perhaps the A350 will work out as the best fit for Azul for Atlantic operations to the US and Portugal in Europe. A duo between the A330-900 and A350-900 would be a much more efficient long-haul widebody fleet. In total, the fleet stands 159 strong.

Featured Image: Azul will not receive the A350 without first withdrawing the A330. Azul PR-AIU, Airbus A330-200 (Azul Viagens Livery). Photo: Otto Kirchof/Airways

EASA commercial pilot | Flight Instructor | Aviation Journalist & writer based in Germany.

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