The liberalization of the Azores airspace: The Impact of Low-cost on SATA

Carlos Freire, Fátima Geada, Fernando Correia, Nelson Agostinho


Purpose - Understand how changes in political-legal environment affected the performance of a Full service Company and which resulting impacts contribute to the continuation of its operations.

Methodology - Based in a case study approach with an in-depth analysis of the topic using multiple sources of evidence. The data was collected from companies' annual reports and statistical entities and sources.

Originality - The interpretative analysis of the collected data aims to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon of Azores’ airspace liberalization, by identifying the impact caused by Low-cost companies on SATA.

Findings – There is evidence the impact caused by Low-cost companies on SATA is marked by: Enhancement of the rates of aircraft exploitation, due to fleet adjustment to the routes; Improvement of inter-island air connections and archipelago connections with the exterior; Reduction of passengers’ travel costs; An important contribution to the more balanced management of the company; An opportunity to review management and operational strategies.

Research limitations - The analysis is made on data related to the carried passengers and on the SATA’s operational data, from 2011 to the present, trying to find trends and explanations for the evolution of indicators over time. An unavoidable constraint is that the impact caused by the air space liberalization, which began on March 29, 2015, cannot yet be considered complete Therefore the figures to be measured or compared are not yet stable.


Keywords - SATA, Low-cost company (LCC), Full service Company (FSC), Azores’ airspace liberalization.

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