Azul will sublease 17 aircraft to TAP Portugal as it works to right size its fleet in the face of weak demand in Brazil.

The Viracopos-based carrier will shift two Airbus A330-200s, six ATR 72-600s and nine Embraer 190s to TAP during 2016, says Priscilla Branco, aircraft programmes and international contracts manager at Azul, at the ISTAT Americas conference in Phoenix.

The aircraft will be used in the Portugese carrier’s refleeting programme, which includes replacing Embraer ERJ-145s and Fokker 100s at its feeder carrier Portugalia – soon to be renamed TAP Express – she adds.

Azul and TAP are codeshare partners and have ownership links since Azul chief executive David Neeleman’s jointly-owned Atlantic Gateway consortium bought a 61% stake in TAP in 2015.

Azul also plans to return three E-Jets to lessor Jetscape as they come off lease, says Branco. Two will be placed with British Airways, she adds.

The three E190s (MSNs 19000163, 19000178 and 19000189) are scheduled to come off lease in March, April and November, Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer database shows. They are all 2008-vintage aircraft that Azul acquired through its merger with TRIP in 2013.

Azul will cut capacity by 7% in 2016, in response to the weakening Brazilian economy. The fleet reductions will be partially offset by the delivery of six Airbus A320neos in the second half.

Source: Cirium Dashboard