Azores Airways is suspending its flights to Boston and Toronto. Blaming low passenger masses brought on by COVID-19, the Portuguese airline based mostly at João Paulo II Airport within the Azores will cease flying to its two North American locations from September 1. After briefly grounding its worldwide flying, Azores Airways solely resumed flying to North America in July.Azores Airways is suspending flights to North America efficient September 1. Photograph: BriYYZ through Wikimedia Commons“In July, the average occupancy rate on this (Boston) route was 21%, and, in August, to date, it has fallen even further to 17%,” mentioned an Azores Airways spokesperson in a press release printed by the Portuguese American Journal.“It would be a show of irresponsible management if SATA ignored this unfortunate reality. Thus, the Azores Airlines is forced to suspend this connection temporarily.”Azores Airways was beforehand often known as SATA Internacional and now operates as a subsidiary of SATA Air Açores.Azores Airways blames COVID-19 for suspending flightsThe airline was sending one in all its Airbus A321neos to Boston and Toronto as soon as per week from Terceira. The Azores Airways spokesperson says these flights do moderately effectively in regular occasions. Nevertheless, demand had collapsed following the outbreak of COVID-19.This announcement from the airline follows information that US$157 million in authorities funding is heading SATA’s means. The European Fee okayed funding final week through the Portuguese Authorities. The funds are to assist the airline restructure after losses brought on by the COVID-19 disaster.Azores Airways was flying weekly to each Boston and Toronto, Photograph: BBjoern78 through Wikimedia Commons“It is with satisfaction that the SATA Group Board has received news that following a process of notification to the European Union, state support to SATA via the Region (Azores) was today approved,” mentioned SATA in a press release on Monday.The European Fee is at pains to level out the funding will not be a bailout or state help. As a substitute, as a result of Azores Airways is a state-owned airline, they’d want to type it as personal funding from the prevailing homeowners.The funds are to cowl crucial brief to medium-term operational bills. Whereas pleased with the funding, the US$157 million shot within the arm falls in need of the US$193 million SATA first requested for.Fears of chapter drive funding decisionFears Azores Airways is verging on chapter introduced the European Fee’s decision-makers onboard. Given the Azores’ isolation and dependency on air hyperlinks, chapter would trigger acute difficulties for the Portuguese territory and its residents.“A SATA bankruptcy would lead to serious social problems and economic difficulties for the region and significantly negative side effects on important segments of the economy,” mentioned the European Fee when it introduced funding for the airline.There are fears Azores Airways is dealing with chapter. Photograph: Alec Wilson through Wikimedia CommonsThere are some provisos. Azores Airways can’t use the cash for something aside from daily operational prices. Reducing these operational prices is now a precedence at Azores Airways. That’s probably additionally behind the choice to briefly abandon its North American markets.The funding bailout places the highlight on the Azores Airways. The airline had confronted a sequence of monetary years for years, lengthy earlier than the COVID-19 fueled journey downturn. As with many different airways, COVID-19 introduced these issues to the foreground.SATA, together with the Azores regional authorities and the European Fee, will spend the following six months engaged on a marketing strategy to plot Azores Airways’ future. Whether or not locations in North America play a job in that future stays up within the air.