Hey guys and welcome to my newest flight report! This time flying with Amaszonas Paraguay between Porto Alegre and Asunción.
AZP889 POA-ASU - YOU ARE HERE AZP888 ASU-POA AVA918 POA-LIM AVA919 LIM-POA
I'm going to Peru next July. Thinking of flying on some old aircrafts on domestic flights (737-200, -300, -500, F-50…) What do you think? Do you have any preferences on which airlines/aircrafts I should report?
Amaszonas Paraguay was founded in 2015 through an investment made by Amaszonas Bolivia, AVMAX and Air Nostrum. Since then, they've been growing very consistently, specially in markets that had no direct flights to Asunción, their hub. Nowadays they serve the following cities from ASU: Iquique (CHI), Salta, Corrientes, Buenos Aires/Aeroparque (ARG), Ciudad del Este (PAR), Montevideo (URU), and seasonally Punta del Este (URU) and Florianópolis (BRA). On the last semester of 2017, the airline announced the arrival of their third CRJ-200 and regular flights to Brazil, that would connect Asunción to Campinas, Campo Grande, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro. I was present on the event of their first flight to POA, by the way. So I became interested on learning more about the airline, so I decided to fly to Asunción with them, There, I would also interview they director, Rómulo Campos, for my aviation website. Their website serves for buying on all of their branches: Bolívia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. It had a Portuguese version. Though it urgently needs a refresh in terms of translation, that is very poor. Also, there are many links and pages that doesn't work at all. Anyroad, the site is pretty clean and functional. I bought my tickets without any problem for around BRL1042.26 (USD320.50 in current values) the roundtrip with taxes included. Had I bought with other airlines, I would have paid almost twice that price - and with connections in other airports. Immediately I recieved my e-ticket by my e-mail.
Well, the day of the flight finally came. I made my check-in around two hours before the boarding, since I had to dispatch my luggage. There was no line in the single Amaszonas counter. Not that I expected any; even if the flight was full, there would be few people on board, as the CRJ-200 capacity is for 50 passengers. And in fact, there would be very few: 24, according to the check-in agent. I was really well-attended by the two employees, that worked for World Service, an outsourced handling company that operates for Amaszonas in Porto Alegre. Both were really helpful, polite and in a very good mood. I asked to take a photo of them. Really nice people!
A quick look to the arrivals and departures. Almost everything at POA has now Fraport's branding.
The customs/migration sector line was a little slow, since just after our flight, an Azul E195 would go to Montevideo. In 15 minutes, though, I was in front of my gate. By the way, the international airside is very limited, with only a single gate and few waiting area/chairs, etc. I just imagine the chaos this room turns when there are big flights, like TAP's to Lisbon. If with 100 people the place was already crowded, with 250 it must be a little bit worse… Fraport took over Porto Alegre Airport in January, so I think this is one of the priorities for them. Since last year, international demand grew 45%.
The tiny international boarding area
There is also a DFA store there.
At 01:56PM our flight was called, without announcements by the PA sytem, since there was not much passengers. In the same gate Azul's passengers embarked…. at the same time. I never saw that! Downstairs
International arrivals area
Both flights, by the way, needed a bus for boarding. So a Fraport employee coordinated the passengers on which bus to take. In the bus!
At 02:11, our bus left the terminal to the aircraft, which was in the remote position. Passing by PR-OCA, preparing to go to São Paulo/Guarulhos as ONE6123.
In some minutes we were by ZP-CRR's side.
ZP-CRR was AZP's second airplane, recieved by them in February 2017. It was firstly delivered to Air Nostrum in July 2002 as EC-IGO; in the beggining of 2014, was leased to Danish airline Cimber AS as OY-RJL, then stored in January 2016. Air Nostrum then operated it from August 2016 to January 2017; the next month they delivered it to Amaszonas Paraguay.
I boarded with a nice smile of the FA. At 02:19 boarding was ended, one minute before scheduled departure time. Wingview
The overhead panel
Soon FA Sandra started the safety speech, in Spanish and after in English. As the CRJ-200 needs just one flight attendant, she alternated between speaking and demonstrating the safety procedures. This makes the speech a little bit longer than normal. The captain also spoke a little, talking about our route and wishing us a nice flight.
At 02:23 the engines were started up, and we started our short taxi to runway 11 two minutes later. At 02:29 Captain Martín, assisted by FO Luís, applied full throttle on the two GE CF34 engines, that in an instant replied with a very interesting sound - at least for an aviation fan like me! From my seat, 11A, on the antepenultimate row, the sound is high on the take-off, but I think further on the fuselage the noise is smaller. We ran 35 seconds on the runway until we took off. Some minutes later we made a turn to the left, bowing Asunción.
As soon as the seat belt sign was turned off, the on board service was started. They would serve coffee (with available powdered milk), sparkling and regular water, Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, Sprite and finally orange juice. I think if they served a little snack it wouldn't be bad, but unfortunately, Amaszonas' service is composed only by drinks. At 03:00 I was served - FA was always nice with me. I noticed that for some passengers who were feeling cold she offered a blanket. As far as I realized she didn't speak Portuguese, though she understand it properly and reply to the passengers in Spanish. By the way, I'd say half of the passengers was Paraguayan and the other half was Brazilian. Catering trolley - with a small Air Nostrum logo
I took some coffee and Coke
Now talking about the aircraft, it seemed very comfortable for me. Its cleaning was impeccable, including the bathroom. Moreover the seats in blue leather were also comfortable, with a reasonable pitch. Other good factor is the absence of the middle seat on a regional jet like this. Obviously the internal space of the cabin is not as big as you see in a 737, but honestly I found the CRJ better than LATAM's A320, for example. One detail that shows the age of the Bombardier is the overhead panel, that has a pretty old - from the 90s, I'd say, appearance, aswell as the illumination, but nothing that can pass a bad impression.
Good pitch (I'm 5'5ft tall)
And of course, a mirror pic. I'll try to make this a habit in my flights, hahaha!
Back from the bathroom
View from the last row
No row 13
Views from the window
In terms of entertainment, Amaszonas offers an on board magazine, which is very complete and well edited. This is surprsing for an airline group of its size. There are some interesting texts in English and Spanish. You can read it in like 20 minutes. In February, the cover celebrated the Carnival, which is present not only in Brazil, but also in Bolivia, Amaszonas' home country. "Somos el ritmo del Carnaval" - spanish for "We're the Carnival rhythm"
Also some good entertainment options for the aviation fans out there ;-) What a nice safety card!
Barf bag. Fortunately I didn't need to use it, so I could take it home!
Paraguay's health reccomendations
View from my seat
At 3:30 in Brazilian Summer Time (2:30 in Paraguay) the Captain made a speech in Spanish and English talking about our arrival. He said the temperature in Asunción was 30ºC (86ºF) and soon we would strat our descent, arriving in 20 minutes, that is, at 2:50. Our cruise altitude had been of 32.000ft. At 2:32 we started our descent and immediately the seat belt sign was turned on. At 2:40 we passed 10.000ft. Clearly descending
We landed in Asunción at 2:52 on runway 20 of Silvio Pettirossi Airport. We made a three-minutes taxi until our position. The interesting is that, as the CRJ is too low for the boarding brige, it stops parallel to it. We deboard on the tarmac and then an airport employee tells us where to go.
Before deboarding, though, I took the opportunity to talk a little bit with the crew and also photograph them and the cabin, as I had asked during the boarding in Porto Alegre. Everyone was very gently to me. Pretty seats, innit?
Captain Martín and First Officer Luís. Very nice people!
The captain and FA Sandra
Bye bye CRR! It was so nice to fly for the first time on a CRJ and, most importantly, on a regional jet.
View of the terminal from tarmac
By our side, Flyest's CRJ-200 LV-GIJ. Flyest is an Argentinean startup with investment from AVMAX and Air Nostrum. Amaszonas Paraguay's fourth CRJ-200 was not able to fly yet, so LV-GIJ was being used to fly from Asunción to Buenos Aires/Aeroparque and Corrientes on behalf of AZP. By the way, if this livery remembers you another Argentinean carrier, you are not mistaken. Flyest has the same directors from Sol, an extinct airline that had an agreement with Aerolíneas Argentinas.
After the photos, I went to the international arrivals part of the airport. As our flight was the only one arriving at that time and I deboarded some minutes after the otther passengers, my luggage was the last one in the luggage belt. Anyway, I didn't get any line in the customs and in very little time I was officially with my passport stamped.
I'm not going anywhere without some spotting… even if it's terribly backlight! View from the observatory. I would easily melt in minutes with that sun.
ZP-CRS arriving from Campinas as AZP847
LV-GIJ coming from Corrientes as AZP877
Austral's LV-CEU arriving from Aeroparque as ARG2262
What a stunning jet! N855G, an American Gulfstream, parked at the secondary apron
The only problem I found in the airport was, in spite of the reasonable structure for a 2-miliion passengers per year terminal, half of the six escalators weren't working. Avianca and Copa offices; also, the entrance for the observatory
A DHL office and another entrance for the terrace
This floor has nothing besides DINAC, the Paraguayan civil aviation authority.
Oops, yes, it has some other things… two non-working escalators ;-)
Check-in line for Air Europa's flight to Madrid
Departures and arrivals
Eating a brownie and drinking some coffee. It would be better had I took some lunch before taking my flight
Now it was time to take my transfer to the hotel. I wasn't really tired… but it had no chance for me to photograph any more aircrafts with that terrible light conditions! In the return I had the chance to make some good photos, though. Stay tuned!
Hope you've liked this report. You can comment in case of any questions, doubts or suggestions. I'd love to hear you! Thanks and bye bye! João
Porto Alegre - POA
Asunción - ASU
Even though the service had no refinements, Amaszonas Paraguay fulfilled what was promised. The nonstop flight to Paraguay saves a lot of time of those that had before to go connecting in São Paulo or Buenos Aires and catch another flight; instead of arriving in four hours our more, you can now arrive in an hour and a half. Now add this to the lower prices than the competition and what you have is an excellent cost-benefit. The great service of the crew and the efficience were also positive points. This way, for those who don't want to spend time and save money, I can say AZP is a very good option on getting to Paraguay.
Cabin: clean, very clean. Though is a regional jet and it looks smaller, seat and pitch was good. Also, some parts of the cabin looked outdated. Cabin crew: very nice and polite! Entertaiment: for a regional flight like this, Amaszonas' magazine was good. Catering: there were good non-alcoholic drink options, but they should serve at least a little snack.
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