Azul has converted one of its Embraer 195s into a freighter to support its cargo division, and plans to adapt another three in response to “record demand”.

The Brazilian carrier has received certification for what it says is the “world’s first” E195 to be adapted for dedicated cargo flights, and has deployed the aircraft with its Azul Cargo Express unit. It expects to convert a further three E195s by the end of 2020.

“Two of the four planes have already been dedicated to an e-commerce provider for a period of at least six months,” says Azul. The four converted E-Jets will join the carrier’s two Boeing 737-400 freighters, which it leased in 2018. Freight capacity can be further expanded using Azul’s five ATR 72-600 “quick-change” turboprops, notes the airline.

“The size, range and performance of the E195 gives it the perfect combination of payload capacity, volume capacity and low trip-cost economics, allowing fast and efficient logistics all around Brazil,” states Azul chief executive John Rogerson.

“We are seeing record demand for the services provided by Azul Cargo Express and are pleased to innovate to further meet the needs of our customers.”

Cirium fleets data shows that Azul has 26 in-service E195s and an additional 27 in storage. It has firm orders for 59 Embraer 195-E2 jets, for which it deferred deliveries in May. The aircraft had been scheduled to arrive between 2020 and 2023 but were delayed until 2024 and beyond.