SATA Group register significant increase in the number of passengers carried in 2023


  • Azores Airlines and SATA Air Açores carried 2.4 million passengers, which represents a growth of 24.8% compared to 2022. 
  • Occupancy rates reach 79.1%, and operation regularity rates are above 95%. 


In 2023, SATA Group airlines recorded a consistent growth in the number of passengers carried, totalizing 2.4 million passengers carried, representing an increase of 40% compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019 and 24.8% compared to 2022.

This consistent growth was observed throughout all quarters of the year, with SATA Air Açores carrying around 952 thousand passengers and Azores Airlines carrying around 1.4 million passengers, representing, respectively, 39.7% and 60.3% of passengers carried.

The overall occupancy rate of flights throughout the year (Load Factor) showed a positive evolution, reaching 79.1% in 2023, an increase of +1.3 p.p. (percentage points) compared to 2019, and +5.6 p.p. compared to last year, having even reached 83.7% in the third quarter of the year, the highest value recorded since 2019. In addition to this positive indicator, the airline regularity index also recorded a positive performance, above 95%, with only 4.5% of flights canceled (the majority due to adverse weather conditions during the operation), compared to a total of 28,437 flights carried out.

According to Teresa Gonçalves, President of the SATA Group, “this significant increase in the number of passengers carried in 2023, reflects not only the renewed confidence in SATA Group airlines, but also highlights the fundamental importance of a collective work that has allowed interactions with passengers, from booking to disembarkation, which has contributed to a positive experience at SATA Air Açores and Azores Airlines”.

Considering the observed evolution, the airlines have maintained their distinction in comparison to the industry's behavior. According to recent data from IATA (International Air Transport Association), airlines have achieved in November 2023 99% of the demand levels recorded in the pre-pandemic year, a mark that has been long ago surpassed by SATA Group airlines.

The continued growth reflects the increasing attractiveness of destinations served by the airlines, both for point-to-point and connecting flights, especially between North America and Europe.


Azores Airlines grows in the main markets it operates in

Azores Airlines (the airline responsible for connections between the Azores Archipelago and abroad) contributed to this very positive evolution of the air transport group, with almost one and a half million passengers (1,444,969) carried in 2023 (+52.8% vs. 2019 and 33.4% vs. 2022), which represented an increase of 362 thousand passengers carried.

Regarding flight occupancy rate (Load Factor), the airline also improved its performance and achieved a result of 82.8% (+3.8 p.p. vs. 2019 and 7.9 p.p. vs. 2022), maintaining a Load Factor of around 80% throughout almost the entire year.

The North American routes operated by the airline (Boston, Toronto, Montreal, New York, and Oakland) have experienced a growth of around + 54.2% when compared to 2022, accounting for around 23% of total passengers carried by the airline.

The number of passengers carried by the company on European routes (except Portugal) went up by 87% compared to last year, representing however only 5% in the total number of passengers carried by the airlines.

On domestic routes, Azores Airlines continues to see its relevance in the domestic market recognized. The routes to mainland Portugal and Madeira continue to grow and assume a very significant weight in the operation, recording an increase in the number of passengers carried of around +29% when compared to 2022.

The regularity rate was above 97%, with just 2.7% of flights canceled, which was below what was experienced in 2019, the year in which the airline recorded cancellations of around 4.6%.

SATA Air Açores presents consistent growth in the service provided to the community 

Regarding SATA Air Açores (the airline responsible for air connections between the nine islands of the Azores), the airline carried almost one million passengers (951,565) in 2023 (+24.1% than in 2019 and 13.7% more than in 2022), corresponding to 114 thousand more passengers carried, compared to 2022.

The regional airline carried out 18,737 flights (+22.5% vs. 2019 and 8.2% vs. 2022), which represented an increase in the offer of + 1,423 flights in 2023. The airline achieved an occupancy rate (Load Factor) of 74.1%, (-2.4 p.p. vs. 2019 and +2.3 p.p. vs. 2022), which consistently stabilized at 70% throughout almost the entire year. 

Despite the increase in production (a total of 18,737 flights carried out, +28.1% vs. 2029 and 8.2% vs. 2022), the airline presented a regularity rate above 94.9%, which means that only 5.1% of flights were canceled (mostly due to adverse weather conditions for the operation).

The consistent increase that has been recorded represents a milestone of success and a testament to the airlines' commitment to the excellence of their services.