An Azul Embraer jet that flew through the USA yesterday (20) after a long standstill and may give clues to David Neeleman’s new company Breeze Airways. They are still assumptions, but there are many coincidences.
The aircraft is the Embraer E195-E1 with PR-AUB registration, which Azul received the name “Anjo Azul” and a “smile” in its painting. The jet was received straight from the factory in 2014 under a lease with the Bank of Utah.
In late 2019, the aircraft was decommissioned with the arrival of the first Embraer E195-E2 jets, which are larger, more modern and more economical. After the plane left Azul, it flew to Macon Airport in Georgia, where it was stored until March of this year.
According to the PlaneSpotters portal, the jet flew in March on a one-day visit to Roswell, New Mexico, and then returned to Macon, where it stayed until last Monday when it flew to Peru, Indiana.
Until then it would have been just an airplane move, still with no new owner, but some facts caught our attention.
Macon and Peru
The first is that the plane did not fly to a desert airport where the low humidity allowed it to be stored for long periods without damaging equipment, a common practice around the world.
Not only did he not go to the desert, but he stayed in Macon. This small airport in central Georgia was mentioned months ago by Azul CEO John Rodgerson when Azul Conecta launched. In the interview we did, the CEO said the Azul planes that fly to Breeze Airways would be in this town. Another point is that both Rodgerson and Neeleman have already said that the first Breeze Airways planes would arrive later this year.
Breeze Airways is the new airline of David Neeleman, a Brazilian who founded JetBlue and Azul and will start flights with the American start-up with the Brazilian company’s jets. In fact, a list of Azul’s planes that would go to Breeze appeared in the past, but the pandemic came and the plans were adjusted and some planes that would go to the American “sister” company are still flying in the Brazilian.
Anyway, yesterday’s flight to Peru caught our attention too: the city has the facilities of Dean Baldwin Painting, a renowned aviation painting company that also happens to have a unit in Macon. Dean Baldwin has painted several paintings for American Airlines, including memorial paintings as well as JetBlue, Amazon Air, and even the US Air Force.
Hence the suspicion that the jet is being painted and reconfigured at Dean’s facilities as the company plans to fly in March and is dependent on the aircraft to get its certification. On the other hand, PR-AUB’s registration in Brazil with ANAC has not been canceled, which raises doubts as to whether it is really going to Breeze.
We have contacted Azul Linhas Aéreas on this matter and will update here as soon as we have more information.