The first of Azul Linhas Aéreas’ four Airbus A350-900s is expected to be delivered in August, according to a statement from an executive at the Brazilian carrier to an outlet.
According to the official, the widebody will undergo a certification phase in Brazil before entering service in December, at best. Two aircraft are indicated as expected to be added to the fleet this year while the other two A350s would be ready in 2023.
In a statement, the airline again avoided the matter. “Azul continues to work on its fleet renewal plan, already announced in the past. Regarding this matter, new details should be announced in due course”, replied a spokesperson.
In June, French company Tarmac Aerosave revealed that it was taking an A350 out of storage and shipping it to Dubai. In a post on Twitter, Tarmac shared a statement from Azul: “What an achievement! We are all deeply involved in the A350 entry in service for Azul. This is by far our most important post-Covid project.”
Former Hong Kong Airlines
The A350-900 should have been received years ago by the Brazilian airline, but the company’s management changed its mind in 2017, opting for the A330-900neo, with a lower capacity and lower operating cost.
As they were already contracted, the aircraft ended up being transferred to the Chinese group HNA, which was a shareholder of Azul at the time. The four planes were operated by Hong Kong Airlines until 2020.
According to records, Azul will receive the A350s with serial numbers 124, 153, 168 and 187. Two of them, the 124 and 168, left Tarbes Airport, in France, for Abu Dhabi, already as part of the preparation process for shipping to Brazil.
Azul also has two other A350s related to it, serial numbers 98 and 112, which had the airline’s livery partially applied, but which are now stored in Beijing, China, after flying with Hainan Airlines.
Thanks to greater capacity and range, the A350s will be able to be used on high demand routes to Florida and Portugal, allowing the return of some older A330-200s.
The return of the Airbus A350 to the Brazilian commercial aircraft fleet will take place approximately one year after LATAM determined the end of operations with the widebody.