AZU5780 VCP-PGZ (diverted to VCP) - AT76 - my first time in Viracopos' new terminal and in an AzulTrip ATR AZU4106 POA-VCP-CNF - E195 - my first report about Belo Horizonte AZU2970 CNF-UDI - E190 - flying in a E190 after more than two years! Also, a quick stop in Uberlândia AZU2971 UDI-CNF - E190 AZU2413 CNF-GRU - E195 - knowing better Azul's terminal in Guarulhos AZU5005 GRU-POA - E195
Hey everybody and welcome to my new flight report! This time, flying on Azul's inaugural flight between Porto Alegre and Santo Ângelo. Santo Ângelo is a 80 thousand-people city in Northwestern Rio Grande do Sul state, on the Missões region. It's one of the biggest cities in that region, and had no flights since 2013. The Missões region is a nice touristic destination, though not very known, because it has some historic buildings the Jesuits built in Centuries XVI/XVII, the Missões/Reduções Jesuíticas. There, they cathecizied and educated the native people. See more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesuit_reduction
Keeping the state's Regional Aviation Development Program, which conceives taxes exemptions according to the number of cities attended in the state, Azul required six weekly flights connecting Porto Alegre and Santo Ângelo in the end of 2015, which were denied, cos' the airport required some more structure. Actually, this is one of the most critical problems in Brazil: infrastructure. After many requests, finally in May 2017 they accepted the last one, which asked four weekly flights with the ATR 72-600. The first flight would occur in July 3, and tickets were starting by BRL119,90 per flight without taxes - about USD38. The next destinations cogited are Bagé, in the southwestern part of the state, and Rivera. This one, despite being in Uruguay, will serve Sant'Ana do Livramento, a city in western Rio Grande do Sul. For this last one, governments are planning the binationalisation of the airport, which would make the boarding taxes way lower on a flight to Porto Alegre, and consequently make the flight viable.
Anyway, as I had already flown on Azul's inaugural flight to Uruguaiana (see the report HERE), I knew any inaugural flight with Azul was nice, because I would have the chance of meeting important people of Azul, but also watch the water salute from inside the aircraft! In May 14 I bought the roundtrip ticket for BRL433.15 with taxes, which means USD137.11. Nothing bad! Usually, when a new destination is opened by Azul, they advise this on their e-mail newsletter. Anyway, let's fly!
I arrived early at the airport, just when the sun had born. Some planespotting from Terminal 1:
PR-AKD "Família Azul" (Blue Family) being towed to a remote position. It would make a roundtrip to Pelotas and then take us to Santo Ângelo!
Gol's PR-GUD. Notice the just-installed wi-fi system.
LATAM Brasil's PR-TYD
A private Cessna Citation
Azul's PR-AUO "Trem é Azul" (I really don't know a good translation for it instead of "Thing is Blue" hahaha)
After watching the planes and having lunch on McDonald's, I went to Terminal 2, where only Azul operates. Went there by bus, which is made available by the airport administrator. Terminal was kinda empty, with flights to Campinas, Florianópolis, Curitiba and Rio in the next hour, besides my flight. I saw some politicians arriving at the boarding room, and also some Azul employees, but no directors at all. I soon went to the gate, cos' it was almost boarding time. At 01:59PM, boarding was started. The flight was full, with people as Rio Grande do Sul's governor, some deputies and state secretaries. By my side, I met again the state's transports secretary, with which I had already talked in the inaugural flight to Uruguaiana.
We would fly in PR-AKD "Família Azul" (Blue Family), an ATR 72-600 delivered to Azul in October 2015. Brand new! It's also the second newest Azul's ATR, after PR-AKF. The aircraft was perfectly maintaned, really clean.
Later pushback was started, and at 2:37PM we took-off.
Then we turned to the left, bowing to Santo Ângelo. ATR's windows are always dirty. That's terrible
Unfortunately, the only Azul authority present in the flight, along with some marketing employees, was the presidency advisor for institutional matters, so there was no presidential speech this time. In some minutes, catering service was started. Snacks of the day were potato chips, polvilho biscuits, guava-filled snacks and the plane jellybeans. And drinks were Coke, Coke Zero, guaraná, juices and water.
Some months ago Azul started to use the napkins for promoting airline stuff. This one promoted Azul's newest international destination, Buenos Aires. Today, there are two daily flights between Ezeiza and Belo Horizonte, one of their hubs.
Then I got up to see if the bathroom was clean, and also talk with the flight attendants. They were really friendly and happy, and that was because they were from Santo Ângelo. So they were flying to their hometowns for the first time! Anyway, I presented myself, talked about my blog and my hobby and asked if I could take their names and also photos of them. They promptly accepted! They said the photo could be made in Santo Ângelo. Also, I asked for coffee, which was not served on that flight, and they said they would give me some in the return. Ah, and before I forget… yes, the bathroom was clean! In some minutes we were descending - this flight is not that lenghty, it takes about one hour or so.
We made some turns over Santo Ângelo and at Azul landed at Santo Ângelo for the first time - a hard landing, by the way!
The local firefighters recieved us with the traditional and beloved water salute. Unbeliavebely, my camera just shut down right when they started to pour the water on us! Luckily, I found a video of it on Instagram. See it clicking HERE. Then everybody left the plane. Authorities started an event with a lot of long speeches. So I took some time for photographing the airport and the aircraft.
Sepé Tiaraju Airport is really, really small! But as the biggest aircraft it recieved until now was OceanAir's Fokker 50, for around 50 passengers, I think that's fine. You know, the airport is now recieving four weekly flights for 70 passengers, so the structure is nothing but the necessary. But I think if any foreign comes to Santo Ângelo, it will get surely disappointed, I think. The only store there is Localiza's car rental service. Terminal overview
Azul's check-in counter
Before boarding of the return flight was started, one more photo of Família Azul!
Each square on Azul's logo represents one Brazilian state.
Reboarding on PR-AKD
Azul's principles: safety, consideration, integrity, passion, innovation and excellence.
The ATR cabin. I prefer the Embraer's, but this one is nothing bad also.
If you look closely, there are newspapers in the seat pocket. Yeah, in this one-hour stop someone put a special newspaper about the inaugural flight, with like, ten pages of interviews and special reports talking about the importance of this flight to the whole region. That's why I love commercial aviation: it helps so much people to get fast to other places, creates jobs and so many opportunities to everybody! Sorry for the low quality of this three pictures: The cover says: "Flying Azul - so the regional developement can take-off!"
An ad made by Santo Ângelo's commercial associations says: "The developement of the Missões region was already growing. Now it will fly!"
"Azul starts operations in Santo Ângelo this Monday"
Space between seats is A-graded!
And finally, before departure, the flight attendants.
Bye bye Santo Ângelo!
Thanks and stay tuned to my next reports! :D
Porto Alegre - POA
Santo Ângelo - GEL
A nice flight with Azul, as always.
ATR's cabin is fresh and modern; The crew was polite, funny and happy! Video/audio entertaiment is not needed for short flights like this, and I think Azul Magazine is preety good. The snacks and drinks, as always, were nice; I always take a lot home so I can share some with my friends. But they should change the options more often!
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