Portuguese American Journal

Community: SATA dumping North American customers into charter plane – Azores

Azores Airlines has announced that it will charter an Airbus A330 from Spain-based Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas to operate flights between the Azores, the United States, and Canada during the summer season.

The chartered Airbus A330-200 will be used by Azores Airlines for routes from the Azores to Boston and Oakland (United States) and to Montreal and Toronto (Canada) from June to September 2023.

Azores Airlines will use this chartered Airbus A330-200 to carry out its routes from the Azores to Boston and Oakland (United States) and to Montreal and Toronto (Canada). Accordingly, the flights are scheduled for between June and September 2023.

This news follows SATA Airlines notification that it has raised its airfares to a hefty 200% for next summer. The announcement is causing quite a storm of protests, with calls for boycotting SATA Airlines in the United States and Canada, which are home to thousands of residents with roots in the Azores.

The Azores based airline, which is in the process of being privatized, has been the main gateway connecting the Azores with its diaspora in North America.

Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas S.A is a Spanish long-haul airline based at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport. As of December 2022, the Plus Ultra fleet consists of two-unit aircrafts which offer discount airfares mostly to countries in Latin America.


In response to SATA Airlines administrative actions, the Conselho Regional da América do Norte/Council of Portuguese Communities (CRAN/CCP) has issued the following Statement of Protestation:


SATA penalizes Communities: The drastic increase in tickets from Boston to the Azores by the Azorean air carrier, SATA, is an opportunistic abuse of the public service monopoly, which the North American Regional Council of Portuguese Communities / CRAN publicly repudiates.

The 200% increase in flights, in the peak of summer between Boston and the Azores, is deeply harmful for the Portuguese in North America, especially for those who – in most Communities – are from the Autonomous Region of the Azores, as well as for the Portuguese-descendants.

At a time when the need to bringing Portugal closer to its Diaspora has been so much broadcast, as well as the importance of Portuguese non-residents of North America maintaining ties of closeness and cooperation with their country of origin, especially with the Autonomous Regions of which they mostly originate, the Azorean air carrier has been drastically inflating prices.

First, by increasing the fare from $850 to $2,367 (trips from July 12th to 19th), and in the last few days with a new increase (for August) of $2,731, for Lajes and $2,725, for Ponta Delgada. Per passenger for the economy airfare.

It is a disastrous measure, both for a public service company that recently received a subsidy from public funds – from taxpayers – of many millions of euros, and for customers who, on the connection between Boston and Ponta Delgada and Boston and Lajes, do not have another flight option.

On the other hand, since SATA is a regional public service company, it is strange that the same government that establishes a suitable policy of equitable and economical inter-island air transport, allows tickets to interconnect the Region with its highest Açor-American concentration, to increase [its fares] opportunistically and scandalously, in a clear limitation of basic mobility [service] rights. It is painful to see how the gap between what the government says and what it does makes the gap between the Communities and its [place] of origin even deeper.

In the same way that it repudiates SATA’s decision, CRAN emphasizes the importance of regional Portuguese-speaking media, namely the Portuguese Times, which in due course alerted public opinion to this abusive measure. As its director, Francisco Resendes, very well wrote, this scandalous rise in prices is “a lack of consideration for Azoreans living in New England, whose only option for a direct connection is our SATA”. As elected representatives of Portuguese citizens in the US and CANADA, we add that the lack of consideration extends to all Portuguese in the North American Communities.

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