Azul accelerates fleet renewal with sublease of 53 Embraer E195s

Azul Linhas Aereas has announced its intention to sublease 53 Embraer E195 E1 aircraft to LOT Polish Airlines and Breeze Aviation Group.

Photo by Embraer

This comes as part of the carrier’s fleet renewal plans, which see it turning to next-generation aircraft for future growth.

LOT Polish Airlines has signed a letter of intent to receive a total of 18 Embraer E195s through the sublease agreement with Azul. The carrier also has options for 14 more. LOT Polish Airlines had already acquired a further 7 Embraer E195s from Azul. The new agreement with the carrier is “subject to LOT corporate approvals”.

LOT Polish Airlines says that in 2021, with the new aircraft, it will become the largest operator of the Embraer E195 in Europe as well as a significant operator worldwide. The Polish flag carrier says the aircraft will aid growth at its Warsaw and Budapest bases.

Rafał Milczarski, CEO of LOT Polish Airlines said: “The E195 jets are the core of our short-haul fleet. Beloved by our passengers, they have already proved their reliability and cost efficiency over the past few years and this is what we aim for while developing the flight network from our bases in Warsaw and Budapest. Thanks to that, in 2021 LOT will be the biggest Embraer operator in Europe and among the biggest in the world."

Meanwhile, Breeze Aviation Group, a US based start-up airline is expected to sublease up to 28 aircraft. Subject to shareholder approval at Azul, the agreement with Breeze would see it operating the A220 and Embraer E195 E1 once fully operational.

“The ability of the E195 to perform well with low-utilization and shorter-haul flying makes it a perfect complement to the Airbus A220-300, which will perform well in higher-utilization and longer-haul flights. We believe there is significant charter potential and peak season demand in the United States for an airplane of this seat count and cost structure. With no middle seats, the E195 has ranked high in guest comfort and satisfaction and we look forward to the introduction of the airplane into our fleet,” said Lukas Johnson, Chief Commercial Officer at Breeze Aviation Group.

Azul hopes to fully phase out the Embraer E195 by the end of 2022 after having served the company for the past 11 years. The carrier has big plans for its fleet renewal, which includes the addition of huge numbers of next-generation aircraft over the coming years.

As mentioned, the carrier will be phasing out it’s Embraer E195s by 2022. The carrier ended 2019 with 55 of the plane’s in service and hopes to cut that number down to 27 by the end of this year. By 2021, only 7 are expected to be in service based on Azul’s updated fleet plan. In turn, however, the Embraer E2 will play an increasingly bigger role within Azul’s fleet, paving the way for further improvements in efficiency and comfort, it says. Azul ended 2019 with 4 in service and expects 29 to have been delivered by the end of 2020. By 2024, Azul expects 75 Embraer E2 aircraft to be in service.

The airline isn’t just renewing its Embraer fleet however. While the 33 ATR aircraft will remain in service until 2024 at least, they will be complemented by new Airbus A320neo planes. It ended 2019 with 38 A320neo family aircraft in service and anticipates a further 9 to be delivered this year. The following year, the carrier will introduce an additional 8. By 2024, it anticipates A320neo family numbers to rise to 80.

In other news, the airline plans to introduce an additional A330 this year and one next year, bringing the fleet to 12 strong aircraft from 2021.

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