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SATA Air Açores
Founded August 21, 1941
Commenced operations June 15, 1947
Bases João Paulo II Airport
Focus cities
Frequent flyer program SATA Imagine
Subsidiaries SATA International
Fleet size 6 (+5 On Order)
Destinations 11
Company slogan The Atlantic and You
Parent company Grupo SATA
Headquarters Ponta Delgada, São Miguel
Key people António Gomes de Menezes (Chairman)

SATA Air Açores is an airline based in Ponta Delgada in the Azores. It operates scheduled passenger, cargo and mail services around the Azores. It provides its own maintenance and handling services and manages 4 regional airports. Its main base is at João Paulo II Airport, Ponta Delgada.



August 21 1941, a group of investors that included Augusto Rebelo Arruda, José Bensaúde, Augusto d'Athayde, Corte Real Soares de Albergaria, Albano de Freitas da Silva and the company Bensaúde & Co. Lda. (through its managing director António de Medeiros e Almeida) established Sociedade Açoreana de Estudos Aeréas Lda. to look into the feasibility of developing an inter-island airline that would link the Azorean archipelago and continental Portugal, and to obtain the governmental concession to do so. Augusto Rebelo Arruda eventually transferred his shares to Bensaúde & Co. on September 15, 1947, although the first Sociedade Açoreana de Transportes Aéreos flight occurred from Santa Maria airport in June, 1947. Captain Marciano Veiga piloted the first flight at the controls of a twin-engine Beechcraft (named "Açor") with seven passengers.

The Portuguese government granted temporary concession to the airline, which operated mail, cargo and air passenger services between São Miguel (Santana Field, until 1969), Terceira (at Achada, Lajes) and Santa Maria airports. By May 23, 1948 the airline had received two DeHavilland Dove 104 aircraft to supplement its operations. In 1969, Nordela Airport (which would eventually be rechristened João Paulo II International) in Ponta Delgada (Relva) was inaugurated to civil traffic and would become the SATA base of operations. By 1971, TAP Air Portugal would begin Lisbon-Ponta Delgada service, and the airport in Horta, Faial would be inaugurated on August 24, 1971. The airline would eventually replace its aging fleet with Avro HS 748 turboprops (1972) with a larger capacity and range, that would fly between the newer airports constructed in all nine islands of the archipelago (between 1981 and 1983).

In 1976, the Portuguese Air Force offered two DC-6 airplanes with a continental range. They were to be used effectively during a TAP strike that allowed SATA to extend their services to Lisbon. By April 14, 1977 it would have transported 1 million passengers throughout the regional market.

It was originally formed as a private company (50% interest held by Bensaúde & Co.), but by 1980 it was a state-owned company operated by the Regional Government and TAP Air Portugal. It became a signatory of the European Regional Airlines Association (ERA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) charters in 1980 when it became a public company, changing its name to SATA Air Açores.

Between 1989 and 1990, the inter-island Avro 748 aircraft were gradually replaced by British Aerospace ATP, after the first aircraft (named "Santa Maria") entered service in 1989. Eventually other planes would be added, reflecting the regionalism of the politics each aircraft would be named for an island, including a small Dornier 228-212 that was added to link the small island of Corvo.


A SATA Air Açores BAe ATP at Funchal Airport, Portugal. (2008)

Domestic scheduled destinations (as of January 2010):

Charter Services:


The SATA Air Açores fleet consists of the following (at 16 May 2009): [1]

SATA Air Açores
Aircraft Total Routes Notes
BAe ATP 5 Regional 1 for Air Aceh
Exit from service: 2009
Bombardier Dash 8 Q200 2
Regional Ex. Horizon Air
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 2 (2 orders) Regional Entry into service: 2009

External links



  • Messias, R. (10/18/2009). Açores e a Aviação. Revista DI, no.340. pp. 16-17. 


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