Only on 10: SATA Azores Airlines expands service from T.F. Green and Logan airports

One of Azores Airlines' plane in Ponta Delgada, Azores after the airline began offering seasonal flights out of Providence. (WJAR)

SATA Azores Airlines, previously known as SATA International, is expanding its existing service out of T.F. Green Airport and Logan International Airport, NBC 10 has learned.

NBC 10 first reported that Azores Airlines would begin flying out of Providence with destinations to Ponta Delgada, Azores on a temporary, seasonal basis.

Now the airline plans to expand its seasonal services from T.F. Green to Ponta Delgada and now Porto (Portugal’s second largest city after Lisbon), for a longer period of time.

Instead of the seasonal period beginning in July and ending the last week of August, the airline has expanded its services to begin on June 2, 2017 and end on Sep. 29, 2017, Lucia Miguel-Botelho, assistant managing director at SATA Azores Airlines told NBC 10 News.

Miguel-Botelho said the airline experienced a high volume of bookings last year when it began offering a weekly flight out of Providence to Ponta Delgada, Azores every Thursday during the July to August season. That’s when it decided to begin offering flights earlier in the season and expand into September.

Flights will now be available on Friday, instead of Thursday during the seasonal period, according to the airline. Moving forward, the plan is to offer weekly flights from Providence to Portugal and the Azores throughout the year beginning in 2018, but that plan may change.

Azores Airlines service out of T.F. Green is the third international service offered out of the Providence area in recent years. Others airlines offer year-round flights to Cape Verde. Seasonal service to Frankfurt, Germany was suspended in September.

Edward deMelo , owner of Columbia Travel in Fall River, Mass. said the expanded service will be great for clients in Southern New England. deMelo, who was worried about the logistics of the new service, said things have been A-OK.

"Clients are leaving after 9 p.m. from Providence and once they get into Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel they can still fly out to other islands like Faial or Pico on the same day," deMelo said.

Prior to this new service passengers arrived in Ponta Delgada late at night and had to stay in the city overnight prior to catching a flight out to other islands the following day.

"Now it’s perfect," he said. "If you’re going to another island other than Sao Miguel, like Faial, you can take a quick flight to that island on the very same day."

The airline has also launched new flight services of Boston to Barcelona, Spain and Praia, Cape Verde.

Direct flights to Barcelona will begin Tuesday, March 28, 2017 and will run through Oct. 27, 2017, according to Botelho. Those flights will begin in Boston and make a stop in Ponta Delgada and continue on to Barcelona. Flights to Cape Verde will begin on June 1, 2017 and run through Oct. 26, 2017 with a stop in Ponta Delgada. Those flights will also be direct.

Currently, those flights make stops in Lisbon, Portugal and passengers must wait hours before continuing on to their final destination of Spain or Cape Verde. The new flights will include a quick stop in Ponta Delgada without hours of waiting, according to the airline.

The decision to provide service out of Boston to Cape Verde was made after an increase in requests from families with ties to Cape Verde who live in the areas of Brockton and Boston, representatives told NBC 10 News.

“These destinations are very important to the large Portuguese and Cape Verdean communities in our area,” Botelho said.

The direct flight to Cape Verde may compete with Transportes Aereo de Cabo Verde (TACV)’s service out of T. F. Green airport, which began on June 2, 2015. The Cape Verdean airline was T.F. Green’s first year-round international service at the Providence airport.

The Rhode Island Airport Corporation/T.F. Green Airport could not be reached for comment.

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