Azul Airlines aims to replace its oldest Embraer jets by accelerating A320neo deliveries

Brazilian LCC Azul Airlines aims to shrink its older fleet of Embraer jets in order to speed up expansion of its Airbus A320neo fleet and cut the number of leases it has that carry higher rates, a holdover from its days as a start-up nine years ago, with no financial history.

Now Azul boasts it has one of the lowest leverage ratios among South American airlines, and aims to take advantage of its improved debt position to achieve better aircraft financing rates in the marketplace.

The airline is moving aggressively to forge deals for older E-Jets in order to grow its fleet of next generation Airbus narrowbodies to push down its operating expense. Many operators of Embraer 190s are examining ways to adjust their respective fleets, as network evolution and a quest to contain costs warrant scrutiny of older aircraft.

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