Portuguese American Journal

Travel alert: SATA Airlines to raise airfares 200% next summer – Azores

If you are planning to travel to the Azores with your family next summer, think again. The Azores based air carrier, SATA Airlines, in the process of being privatized, has raised its airfares to a hefty 200% next summer.

The revelation, reported by Diário dos Açores on Wednesday, is causing quite a storm of protests in the United States and Canada, which are home to thousands of residents with roots in the Azores.

According to the report, a round trip between Boston and Ponta Delgada has been “brutally” increased to over USD$2,700, resulting in a 200% increase as of 2022 airfare tariffs, for the high travelling season which comprises the months of July and August.

In recent years, before 2022, SATA Airlines airfares, between the Azores and North America, averaged USD$ 1,000 dollars round trip, during the high season, and USD$600 for year-round trips during the low season.

The news has alarmed the communities abroad, since the Azores based SATA Airlines has been the main gateway connecting the Azores with its diaspora in the United States and Canada, namely between the Azores and Boston, New York, and Oakland (United States), and Toronto (Canada).

SATA Airlines has disclosed that its operations in North America have been running at a profit, topping its most profitable destinations.


SATA Airlines to be sold before the end of the year

In a new development, it has also been revealed that SATA Airlines is in the process of being sold before the end of the year, according to the Regional Secretary for Finance, Planning, and Public Administration, Duarte Freitas. 

The move has been deliberated during a corporate restructuring plan, of the semi-private SATA Group, approved in early December 2022. The Azores Government currently owns a 51% stake in the carrier.

“I can announce that as of January 1, 2023, we will begin the public tender process to sell Azores Airlines,”  Freitas said.

Freitas also stated that, following the SATA Group move in December, a new holding company would be created “making it possible to sell the Azores Airlines” and that no more public funds would be invested into the carrier.

The first attempt to privatize SATA Airlines, from the semi-private SATA Group, started in November 2018, when it was proposed to alienate the majority of the capital of Azores Airlines (a.c.a SATA Internacional), an associate of the SATA Group consortium of airlines, responsible for air connections between the archipelago and abroad. The move is foreseen to be part of the Budget of the Azores Administration for 2023.

In the recent past, the SATA Group consortium of airlines has served 19 destinations on a seasonal and/or year-round basis to include: Boston, New York,  and Oakland (United States); Montreal and Toronto (Canada); Lisbon and Porto (Portugal); Ponta Delgada, Terceira, Horta, Pico, Faial, Santa Maria (Azores); Funchal (Madeira); Paris ( France); Frankfurt (Germany); Barcelona, (Spain) Bilbao and Gran Canaria (Canaria); Hamilton (Bermuda); and Praia (Cape Verde).


The Azores (population 250,000) is a region of Portugal composed of nine islands. The archipelago discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, became an Autonomous Region of Portugal in 1976. The government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores includes the Legislative Assembly, composed of 57 elected deputies, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term; the Regional Government and Presidency, with parliamentary legitimacy, composed of a President, a Vice-President and seven Regional Secretaries responsible for the Regional Government executive operations. The Autonomous Region of the Azores is represented in the Council of Ministers of the Central Government by a representative appointed by the President of Portugal. According to the latest US census over 1.3 million individuals of Portuguese descent live in the United States, the majority with roots in the Azores. It is estimated that over 20,000 US citizens live in Portugal.