Azul To Restore International Flights From Belo Horizonte After Three Years

Credit: Joe Pries

Azul Linhas Aéreas is to resume international flying from Belo Horizonte Confins (CNF) in Brazil’s mountainous Minas Gerais state after a three-year hiatus.

Three routes are slated to commence over the coming months, including a new service to Curaçao (CUR) in the Caribbean. The Brazilian carrier is yet to announce the schedule but said flights to the island would be weekly and start during the first half of 2023.

Data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser shows that the Curaçao flights will become Belo Horizonte’s sole route to the Caribbean and the first since GOL operated a short-lived Punta Cana (PUJ) service during the 2014/15 northern winter season.

Azul also plans to reinstate flights from Belo Horizonte to the US. A connection to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) will begin in the first half of the year, with operations to Orlando (MCO) following in the second half. Service will be 3X-weekly and 2X-weekly respectively.

The carrier has served both destinations from Belo Horizonte in the past. However, while Orlando was a route that operated year-round from December 2017 through March 2020, flights to Fort Lauderdale only launched in December 2019 and ran for a few weeks until the onset of the pandemic. Once the Fort Lauderdale route resumes, it will become Belo Horizonte’s sole nonstop connection to the US.

Azul director of institutional and airport relations Fábio Campos said the airline was reinstating international flying from the Brazilian city after signing an agreement with the government of Minas Gerais.

“Fort Lauderdale and Orlando are already existing destinations in Azul's network on flights departing from other airports, such as São Paulo Viracopos, Belém, Manaus and Recife,” Campos added.

“We believe in the potential of the Minas Gerais market and, we are also betting on the success of the flight to Curaçao, a novelty in the Azul network.”

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Azul’s international network from Belo Horizonte also included Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini (EZE). However, flights between the cities remain suspended.

Alongside the Curaçao, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando routes, the carrier has announced two domestic additions from CNF. Daily flights to the mining town of Araxá (AAX) will return after three years, while a new 2X-weekly link to São João del Rei (JDR) will begin in the second half of 2023.

OAG data shows that Azul serves 48 destinations from CNF during the week commencing Jan. 23, offering 74,100 departure seats. This compares with 44 destinations and 80,200 weekly seats in January 2020.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.