The biggest Brazil-made airplane had its inaugural flight Wednesday by carrier Azul, starting at Viracopos airplane, in Campinas, São Paulo, bound for Brasília. Manufactured by Embraer, the aircraft E195-E2 can carry up to 146 passengers, 18 more than the previous version, E195, and consuming roughly 25 percent less fuel.
The new aircraft can travel up to 4,537 km and fly at 870 km/h. The E195-E2 can also transport a larger volume of useful cargo, which is likely to benefit Azul—which already uses Embraer planes—cover new destinations.
Azul President John Rodgerson announced that the company has commissioned 50 units of the new plane, which should be received in the coming two years. Today, he said, Azul flies to 105 cities and plans to cover 150 destinations in the coming five.
The guests-only inaugural flight took off from the Viracopos airport, one of the most used by the carrier, and landed in Brasília, where the plane was launched during a ceremony, attended by the president’s Chief of Staff Onyx Lorenzoni, and Brazil’s Infrastructure Minister Tarcísio de Freitas.
On November 8, the E195-E2 will start doing two routes operated by Azul in the Brazilian Northeast.
Azul is expected to operate flights with the new plane for five destinations. The routes start in Viracopos and Confins, in Minas Gerais, bound for cities like Brasília, Curitiba, and Porto Alegre. The plane is also likely to fly from Maceió, in Alagoas, and Petrolina, in Pernambuco, headed for Salvador, in Bahia.
“It’s a venture that will be successful. We’re considering investments, and, as far as we’re concerned, it won’t be eight, but 15 new destinations next year,” said Minister Tarcísio de Freitas during the launch ceremony.
In addition to concessions for airports operated by Infraero, he said, the government plans to invest in regional aviation. Twelve airports have been ceded this year. Next year, 22 terminals are expected to be granted to the private enterprise. By 2021, another 19 airports should go the same way.
“We’re finishing the studies for a new package of concessions. We’re finishing this month what we’ll put up for bids next year. We haven’t stopped. We have our foot on the accelerator,” the minister said. “Our national air plan is in full development, and we’re using the resources from the concessions to invest in equipment for regional aviation.”