Brazil's Azul Airlines: building a fortress network for the long term

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Brazil's Azul Airlines has built up a sizeable presence in the country during its first decade of operations and believes its defensible network is one of its strongest assets. And although the airline has a low cost DNA, its approach to the Brazilian market is very different from that of a typical low cost operator.

Azul's network strength is built on connectivity to its largest hubs, and more than half of its passengers travel on connecting itineraries. The airline's proposition is not low fares; rather, it is access to a level of air travel not available in the past coupled with a favourable travel experience.

It has obviously made tweaks to its model along the way, but Azul unsurprisingly believes its formula is successful, and is now working to accommodate the demand it has built up through the years with larger gauge aircraft that should provide the airline with a line of defence against fuel price volatility, as well as helping the airline to lower its unit costs over the long term.

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