Back in the 1930’s aviation to the Azores was very limited the only way to reach the Azores was by boat or seaplane. However, by 1940 it was possible to fly military planes to the first air strip of Santana on the north coast of Sao Miguel. Things have changed a lot since those early aviator days and now there are many options for getting to the Azores from mainland Europe.
The first direct flights from the UK started in 2007 and were operated by the Azores airline SATA in partnership with Archipelago Choice and a couple other tour operators. The flight operated once a week from Gatwick between April and October. In 2015, Ryanair started a year-round flight from Stanstead and this year we see the introduction of a 3rd direct flight but from Manchester.
The main flight options for flight to the Azores from the UK are:
Azores flights from London:
The Azores Airline have a direct flight from Gatwick to the main island of Sao Miguel. This flight operates every Saturday from May to October.
Michael O’Leary (of Ryanair fame) operates a successful direct flight from Stanstead to the main island of Sao Miguel every Saturday throughout the year.
TAP Air Portugal have daily flights via Lisbon or Porto from both Heathrow and Gatwick. These flights offer a more flexible way of reaching the islands as you can, with a little planning, fly into one island and out of another. The following islands have flights from Lisbon or Porto; Sao Miguel, Faial, Terceira, Santa Maria, and Pico (though only Sao Miguel, Terceira and Faial are daily).
Azores flights from Manchester:
Ryanair (of Michael O’Leary fame) introduced a new, and much needed direct flight from Manchester to the main island of Sao Miguel in 2018, which operates every Thursday from June to October.
TAP Air Portugal have a daily flight from Manchester to the Azores via Lisbon which operates throughout the year.
Other flight options:
Increasingly, people are taking regional flights from the UK to Lisbon and Porto on mainland of Portugal. These flights are operated by the budget airlines like Easyjet, and with a careful planning and a possible stopover in Portugal they can be a very good alternative to the flights we have talked about above.
The Azores are very much an undiscovered part of Europe and with nine islands to explore there is much to consider before committing to your flights. Without sounding too old-fashioned, it might be worth having a chat with a specialist holiday companies like Azores Choice, who’ll offer some sound advice and no doubt add some additional value to your proposed trip.
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