The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) announced the signing of the contract for the acquisition of two second-hand Airbus A330-200s with Azul S.A, the controller of the Brazilian carrier.
The company was the only bidder for the KC-X3 competition, which aims to operate two A330 MRTT, an transport and aerial refueling variant, developed by Airbus.
Azul, however, would not own the aircraft. The A330 MSN 1492 is part of its fleet, but would belong to Air Castle lessor. The widebody jet was stored outside Brazil, but returned to the country at the end of December, on the eve of the FAB launching the tender.
The other aircraft is the A330 MSN 1508, which is stored in Tarbes, France. Both widebodies were originally ordered by Avianca Colombia and delivered in 2014.
Three years later, they were transferred to Avianca Brasil, a defunct airline that belonged to the Efromovich brothers, also shareholders of the Colombian airline.
Azul had told Airway that it has an option to purchase one of the jets and that it would seek the second on the market.
Entry into service in 2024
According to the Air Force, Azul agreed to receive $80.6 million for the two aircraft, an amount considered quite low, according to market analysts.
The FAB expects to receive the first A330 within 90 days and the second within 150 days – they will be designated as KC-30 and will be assigned FAB 2901 and FAB 2902.
The A330 MSN 1492 flew for the first time in March 2014 while the MSN 1508 performed the inaugural flight in April of the same year, therefore, within the requirements of the FAB, which required aircraft manufactured from 2014 onwards.
The two Airbus planes also meet another requirement, which prohibited A330s with Pratt & Whitney engines – they are equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 772-B60 turbofans.
“Negotiations with the Airbus company for the conversion of commercial aircraft to MRTT platforms will begin in the coming weeks, so that the first aircraft with this configuration will enter into operation in 2024,” the Air Force statement said.