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Azores Airlines' Intriguing Porto Transatlantic Flights

Azores Airlines is a small airline with a fleet of eight Airbus A320-family aircraft, based in the Azores (some of the Atlantic islands that belong to Portugal). Historically, the carrier’s network has been focused on offering service from the Azores to both North America and Europe. However, next summer the airline has some interesting new route plans.

Azores Airlines’ summer 2024 Porto flights

As reported by AeroRoutes, as of the summer of 2024, Azores Airlines is planning to launch nonstop flights between Porto (OPO) and North America. Specifically, we’ll see service to three destinations — Boston (BOS), New York (JFK), and Toronto (YYZ) — with each route getting once weekly service.

Starting on June 4, 2024, we’ll see service from Porto to Boston with the following schedule:

S4271 Porto to Boston departing 6:25AM arriving 9:35AM
S4272 Boston to Porto departing 11:05AM arriving 11:00PM

The flight will operate westbound on Tuesdays and eastbound on Wednesdays. It will cover a distance of 3,144 miles, and is blocked at 8hr10min westbound and 6hr55min eastbound.

Starting on June 6, 2024, we’ll see service from Porto to New York with the following schedule:

S4277 Porto to New York departing 6:00AM arriving 9:35AM
S4276 New York to Porto departing 11:05AM arriving 11:35PM

The flight will operate westbound on Thursdays and eastbound on Mondays. It will cover a distance of 3,322 miles, and is blocked at 8hr35min westbound and 7hr30min eastbound.

Starting on June 1, 2024, we’ll see service from Porto to Toronto with the following schedule:

S4371 Porto to Toronto departing 6:00AM arriving 9:35AM
S4372 Toronto to Porto departing 11:05AM arriving 11:50PM

The flight will operate westbound on Saturdays and eastbound on Fridays. It will cover a distance of 3,515 miles, and is blocked at 8hr35min westbound and 7hr45min eastbound.

Azores Airlines’ new transatlantic flights from Porto

All of these routes will be operated by Airbus A321neo aircraft, featuring 186 seats. This includes 16 business class seats (similar to domestic first class in the United States) plus 170 economy class seats.

To address a few of the interesting things about this service:

  • Presumably the reason for the day of week variation is that Azores Airlines will swap planes at its North American gateways between the Porto service and the Ponta Delgada service
  • It’s interesting to see such early westbound transatlantic flights, and to see daytime eastbound transatlantic flights (which I love, especially when there aren’t flat beds)
  • Azores Airlines will be competing with Air Transat on the Toronto route, and both TAP Air Portugal and United fly from Newark to Porto
  • Once weekly service is pretty limiting in terms of building up demand, but I guess in the other direction passengers can fly with one stop via Ponta Delgada
Azores Airlines will operate this flight with Airbus A321s

My take on Azores Airlines’ Porto expansion

The whole country of Portugal has become a much more popular tourist destination in recent years, ranging from Lisbon, to Porto, to the Azores, and beyond. While Azores Airlines is focused on the Azores, it’s ultimately a Portuguese airline, so it’s not unreasonable the airline would launch transatlantic flights from other parts of the country.

Still, I can’t help but find this to be pretty noteworthy. Azores Airlines and TAP Air Portugal have long had a codeshare agreement and partnership, though have also competed pretty fiercely. For example, a few years back, TAP Air Portugal launched a route from Ponta Delgada to Boston, competing head-to-head with Azores Airlines. That route ultimately didn’t last. Now we’re seeing the opposite, where Azores Airlines is competing in some markets where TAP Air Portugal has historically dominated.

Obviously Azores Airlines is launching these routes because it thinks it can make more money flying these flights rather than additional flights out of the Azores:

  • The Azores is such a hot tourist destination, so has competition from other airlines to the Azores just made it hard for Azores Airlines to continue growing?
  • Is Azores Airlines’ issue that the airline only has A320-family aircraft at this point, which limit the range the airline can fly? Back in the day the airline had A310s and A340s and flew to the Bay Area, but obviously many of those routes are no longer within range (read my review of Azores Airlines’ A310 business class)

I’m curious to see if these routes prove successful and become part of Azores Airlines’ long term strategy, or if this is just lasts for one summer.

Azores Airlines’ Airbus A310 business class (back in the day)

Bottom line

As of the summer of 2024, Azores Airlines will launch flights from Porto to three destinations in North America, comprised of Boston, New York, and Toronto. Each route will operate once weekly, with daytime flights in both directions.

It’s cool to see Azores Airlines expand its transatlantic service beyond the Azores, and I’m curious to see how this performs.

What do you make of Azores Airlines’ new Porto flights?


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