Brazilian carrier Azul Linhas Aéreas appears set to retire its fleet of Airbus A350-900 jets only a year after receiving them. The aircraft type has been removed from the schedule, with the Brazilian press reporting that operating expenses were much higher than anticipated.
Report: Azul Prepares To Retire A350-900 Fleet…Less Than A Year After Taking Delivery Of Aircraft
Azul was supposed to take delivery of its first A350 jet in 2017, but the first aircraft was not delivered until late 2022. The Brazilian budget carrier had ordered five A350s, but cancelled the order in 2017. Those jets went to Cathay Pacific instead. But after a year of civil unrest in Hong Kong followed by the pandemic, Cathay Pacific grounded much of its fleet, including these A350s.
Two were transferred back to a storage facility in France, where they sat for two years until Azul decided to reincorporate the A350 in 2022.
The first A350-900 debuted in September 20022 and the second one three months later. Sine then, the “flagship” A350 has served routes from Campinas (VCP) outside São Paulo including:
- Lisbon (LIS)
- Orlando (MCO)
- Paris (ORY)
(the other three A350s originally ordered were sent to Hainan, who later sold them to Iberia)
Per Airways Mag, which bases its information on widespread reporting in the Brazilian media, Azul finds the cost structure of operating the A350 too high:
Azul sees the A350 as an airplane with very high maintenance and operational cost, even though it has some of the best fuel burn performances in the industry.
As a result–while not yet officially announced–Azul will exclusively stick to its Airbus A330 family of aircraft for longhaul operations. That includes four A330-200s and five A330-900neos. I‘ve reviewed the A330-900neo in business class during the pandemic and enjoyed a lovely flight.
> Read More: Azul Airlines A330-900neo Business Class
The A350 has now been pulled from the schedule beyond October 28, 2023.
Less than a year after launching A350 operations, Azul appears ready to retire its two A350 aircraft. While the high cost of having a dedicated pilot and maintenance team for this aircraft is understandable, the A350 is one of my favorite aircraft and I am quite sorry to see it depart the Azul fleet.
image: Azul A330-900neo, which will again become the flagship of the Azul longhaul fleet