SATA Group celebrates 77 years of commercial flights


The SATA Group celebrates the 77th anniversary of the first commercial flight of "Sociedade Açoreana de Transportes Aéreos" (SATA). To share the memorable date with passengers travelling on inter-island connections on this day, the airline revives a ritual: offering candies to passengers during inter-island flights. This kind gesture had the purpose of relieving ear pressure felt at certain stages of the flight, and it is still remembered with endearment by inter-island passengers. 

The start of commercial flights by SATA, Sociedade Açoreana de Transportes Aéreos, Lda., took place on June 15, 1947, with the enthusiasm of more than three hundred guests who attended the ceremony held at the Santana's airfield, the only airport on São Miguel Island.

With pomp and circumstance, the start of the air operation was accomplished to deliver air connections for passengers, cargo, and mail transport between the islands of São Miguel, Santa Maria, and Terceira, given that, at the time, no other islands of the Archipelago had airports.

The purpose of SATA’s foundation gained dimension over the years, and impulse the airline we know today as SATA Air Açores, which connects the nine islands of the Archipelago, carries out almost 19 thousand flights per year, transports more than nine hundred thousand passengers per year, and was distinguished in 2024 as "Europe's Leading Regional Airline" by the World Travel Awards (WTW).

In addition to SATA Air Açores, Azores Airlines is part of the same history, adding ambition to the mission of fighting the island's isolation and achieving the goal of making the Azores Archipelago more accessible through a domestic and international air operation, which shortens, over the years, the distance that separates the relevant Azorean community living in North America from their homeland. The international wings of SATA also offer direct flights between Europe and the Azores Archipelago, completing more than 9,700 flights per year and more than 1 million and four hundred thousand passengers transported, having been referred to as the first choice of passengers who, in 2023, travelled in high season for the Azores, according to the satisfaction survey promoted by the Azores Tourism Observatory. Azores Airlines was also distinguished in 2024 as "Europe's Leading Airline to North America" by the World Travel Award, given its consistent investment in that market.

SATA took around thirty years of air operations to carry the first million passengers. Far from this time, in 2023, SATA Group’s airlines carried around 2 million and four hundred thousand passengers altogether in a single year, passengers coming from several destinations in North America, in the Madeira and Cape Verde Archipelagos, in the Portuguese continent and the European continent.