Azul Launching Nonstop Flights To New York

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Brazilian airline Azul has just announced their third US destination, New York.

Azul launching Viracopos to New York flight

As of June 15, 2020, Azul will begin flying daily between Viracopos and New York JFK. The ~4,700 mile flight will operate with the following schedule:

AD8700 Viracopos to New York departing 8:30PM arriving 5:30AM (+1 day)
AD8701 New York to Viracopos departing 11:30PM arriving 10:30AM (+1 day)

The new flight is already on sale. Azul has a partnership with both JetBlue and United. So if you are looking to redeem miles for travel on Azul, then booking through United MileagePlus is the best option (though they don’t seem to have access to much business class award availability). Fortunately Azul also has fairly reasonable paid fares, including in business class.

Azul’s current US destinations include Fort Lauderdale and Orlando — the airline flies to Fort Lauderdale from Belém, Belo Horizonte, Recife, and Viracopos, and to Orlando from Belo Horizonte, Recife, and Viracopos.

An inefficient schedule

While it’s pretty standard for airlines to operate double redeyes between the US and Brazil, the aircraft utilization on this route is especially bad, with the plane sitting on the ground in New York for 18 hours.

I’m surprised they don’t at least push the Viracopos to New York flight back by a few hours, and the New York to Viracopos flight forward by a few hours, so that the plane is “only” on the ground in New York for 12 hours, rather than 18 hours.

My guess is that the difference in utilization isn’t a huge deal here:

  • Azul uses their long haul fleet pretty inefficiently to begin with, so odds are that the plane would otherwise just be sitting on the ground in Viracopos during the day (though I imagine it’s still cheaper to park there than JFK?)
  • Presumably the schedule is based around maximizing connection opportunities in cooperation with JetBlue

Azul’s A330s

Azul operates a long haul fleet consisting of A330s, including A330-200s and A330-900neos. Azul has staggered business class seats on their A330-200s, while their A330-900neo business class is similar to TAP’s.

Bottom line

It’s cool to see Azul expand their US service beyond Florida. I’ve been meaning to fly Azul for quite a while, so I’m hoping to do that soon. I can fly them in one direction to Viracopos, then head to Sao Paulo and maybe return to the US on LATAM’s reconfigured 777.

Has anyone flown Azul before? What was your experience like?

Comments
  1. Fantastic news. Low capacity between US-Brazil has led to absurdly high fares. Not too psyched to fly through VCP but should at least take some of the pressure off of other flights.

  2. @James S – AD has a huge hub at VCP, offering connections to a lot of cities not served by any airline through GRU. And they do offer free buses to São Paulo (not the quickest option, but the buses are comfortable), which takes about one hour to the city.

  3. They also probably can’t get slots (and/or gates) any earlier in the evening at JFK when the airport is pretty packed, though something later in the morning for the landing would presumably be available. I don’t know if there are any curfew issues at Viracopos?

  4. I’ve flown on their VCP-FLL route and the service is great. Plus as a smaller airport VCP provides a more comfy experience than GRU. And sometimes getting to GRU from Sao Paulo’s financial district can take just as long as getting to VCP.

  5. I love Azul! They are an awesome airline.

    @Lucky I would recommend flying a domestic flight (like most Brazilian airlines, they only offer economy on domestic routes) in addition to an international flight since the experience is just as great. Maybe you could fly into Belo Horizonte-Confins airport and then connect on to a domestic flight to Sao Paulo-Congonhas (cool airport to land at since it is right in the city)

    There are two Marriott/Starwood properties in the city that you could review, including the Renaissance and the Sheraton WTC.

  6. “It’s cool to see Azul expand their US service beyond New York.”

    The article is about the airline expanding service to New York.

  7. I’ve flown domestically with Azul a couple of times for work. Even in economy, the service was solid and friendly. That’s something that’s sorely lacking on most American operations if you’re behind the wings.

  8. James S – I laughed out loud a bit at that one. That being said, at least the terminal at VCP doesn’t utilize a double-wide trailer as a baggage claim like TTN.
    I’d pay to see Lucky fly Frontier into TTN. What a convenient yet stuck in the Middle Ages airport

  9. Many people might not know where Viracopos is located. It was Sao Paulo’s international airport until the 1990’s. It was kind of far, like Mirabel (Montreal) or Dulles (Washington, DC), so people hated it and rather fly to Rio and connect. Then GRU was opened to passenger traffic and VCP became about as busy as YMX Mirabel. (Oh, IAD didn’t get closer to Washington, DC but Washington grew and the suburbs got closer to IAD).

    I wouldn’t fly to VCP unless the airfare was good and I studied how to get from the airport by bus.

  10. They should try to get rights JFK-YVR, like Cathay Pacific has. So

    VCP-JFK 830 pm – 5:30 am + 1 day
    JFK-YVR 7:45 am – 11:15 am

    YVR-JFK 12:30 pm – 10:00 pm (or 1 pm-10:30 pm)
    JFK-VCP 11:30 pm – 10:30 am + 1 day (or 11:59 pm-11:00 am + 1 day)

  11. I only flew Azul once domestic and it was by far the best airline experience intra-Brazil ive ever had besides flying private lol.

    Viracopos has an executive bus to shuttle u from Viracopos to Sao Paulo, its quite nice and not a hassle, given how long it can take you from SP to GRU during rush hour.

    Lucky i am ITCHING to see your Azul review!!!!! 🙂

  12. Agree with @Schaar, Azul arguably has the best product domestically in Brazil. If the product is similar to TAP internationally (which it definitely is, at least as far as the hard product is concerned), it is also a good choice there.

    As regards VCP, this is definitely an advantage for those connecting, as compared to GRU. As others said, both GRU and VCP quite far from the city center, but both take about the same time and both are hard to plan (it can take anything from 45 min to 4 hours … in both cases …). This makes me wonder what the VCP international lounge is like, because you often arrive quite early (because of better than expected traffic).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *