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Azul plans JFK service by May 2016

Brazil's Azul will begin service to New York by May 2016, after postponing those flights to focus on its service to Florida.

"We will start in the spring of 2016," Azul chief executive David Neeleman tells Flightglobal, adding that the flights will likely launch between March and May in 2016 after the airline completes a cabin reconfiguration on its Airbus A330s.

Azul is currently reconfiguring the A330s it deploys on its US service and has said it expects to complete the reconfiguration of all seven aircraft by November.

The airline had announced plans to serve New York John F Kennedy from Viracopos-Campinas when it first unveiled plans for US service, but has since chosen to focus on boosting its Florida destinations. It will begin Belo Hoizonte-Orlando service in November, followed by Sao Paulo Guarulhos-Orlando flights a month later.

Neeleman says Azul has no plans to serve New York via Newark Liberty International airport, despite partner United Airlines' recent announcement to exit New York JFK and move its US transcontinental service to Newark.

"We are not looking at Newark," he says. "We will do a market that United doesn't serve."

In late June, United announced it was investing $100 million in Azul for a 5% stake in the Brazilian carrier. The airlines plan to begin a codeshare and frequent flier partnership.

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