Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AD, Sao Paulo Viracopos) chairman David Neeleman says the Brazilian budget carrier anticipates completing its transition from Embraer E1 to E2 jets by the end of 2021.

Azul currently operates nine E190s (average age of 9.5 years) and fifty-four E195s (average age of 5.8) and will replace them with E2 jets from next year onwards. With the signing of a Letter of Intent with Embraer for twenty-one E195-E2s during this year's Farnborough Air Show, Azul has up to fifty-one E2s on order from the Brazilians, inclusive of a purchase for thirty placed in 2015.

According to Neeleman, given the dramatic cost differences between the E2 and E1 (lower cost of ownership, less fuel burn, lower maintenance costs, and increased revenue potential from the 18 additional seats), Azul has decided to pursue the latter's retirement more vigorously.

"Because the cost and revenue benefits of the E2 over the E1 are so significant it makes total sense to aggressively remove the E1s from our fleet earlier than planned," he said during a 2Q18 earnings call. "I have set an ambitious goal for our team to have this portion of the fleet transformation completed by the end of 2021. We are working hard on it and we will share more details with you soon."

According to Neeleman, Azul is on track to add two E195-E2 jets in 2019, the first of which is expected in June. Thereafter, Azul anticipates adding nine E2 jets in 2020 followed by 17 in 2021.