Rio and Manaus among new Azul routes

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Brazil's Azul Linhas Aereas has disclosed several new routes it plans to operate out of its Campinas base with the arrival of new Embraer 190/195 jets scheduled for March and April.

The new destinations include Fortaleza, Navegantes, Rio de Janeiro and Manaus - Azul's longest route.

Azul had initially planned to fly to Rio de Janeiro's downtown Santos Dumont Airport. But restrictions prohibit operations from Santos Dumont to destinations other than Sao Paulo Congonhas and certain regional and intrastate locations.

Although Brazil's aviation authorities are reviewing the restrictions and may open Santos Dumont to more interstate routes, Azul is initially scheduling the Rio de Janeiro flight to Galeao International Airport for its 1 April launch.

Azul still hopes to receive authorisation to operate to Santos Dumont "very soon". Its current destinations from Campinas comprise Recife, Salvador, Vitoria, Curitiba and Porto Alegre.

Its fleet currently includes five Embraer jets but is closing negotiations for a loan from Brazil's state-owned development bank BNDES to guarantee maintaining the scheduled delivery of aircraft which should bring the fleet size to 16 by the end of the year.