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SATA Air Acores Dash Q400 in Ponta Delgada Airport
People are boarding a Dash Q400 of SATA Air Acores heading to Terceira Island.

Review: SATA Air Acores from the Azores Islands

  • By Finnoy Travel
  • May 22, 2020

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SATA Air Acores

SATA Air Açores is a small airline from Portugal. It is based in Ponta Delgada which is the capital of Azores islands. This airline was founded in 1941 to fulfill the need to transport cargo and passengers between Azores islands. The airline has only 6 aircraft and destinations only in the Azores and a destination in Funchal, Madeira.

The nose of a SATA Air Acores Dash 8-Q400
The nose of a SATA Air Acores Dash 8-Q400.

Azores Airlines

SATA Air Açores also maintains a subsidiary for mid-and long-haul flights called Azores Airlines. This company was known as SATA International but it changed its name to Azores Airlines, a more suitable name for an international carrier. While SATA Air Acores maintains only domestic flights within the Azores, Azores Airlines has many international destinations.

Azores Airlines has 6 Airbus A320 series aircraft in the fleet. The airline flies mainly to the mainland of Portugal and also to Canada and to the United States. Azores Airlines contributes a big role in carrying thousands of travellers to the Azores, especially during the summer season. The airline offers also stopover journeys for Canadian and American travellers wishing to stop in the Azores on their way to Europe.

The tail of Airbus A320
Azores Airlines flies with Airbus A320 series fleet.

These two airlines, SATA Air Acores and Azores Airlines together form the SATA Group.

Our Flights with SATA Group

From Ponta Delgada to Terceira

In February 2020, we flew from Ponta Delgada to Terceira with SATA Air Acores. We had planned one week's holiday in the Azores and decided to visit two Azores islands in a single journey. The flight from Ponta Delgada to Terceira was a direct leg lasting only 20 minutes. It was operated with a turboprop, Dash 8-Q400. The same aircraft continued immediately from Terceira to Flores.

The boarding went smoothly with passengers getting into the plane using the front and rear doors. The flight departed from Ponta Delgada on time. The safety announcement before the take-off was clear and the crew acted professionally.

SATA Air Acores Dash 8-Q400 Ponta Delgada
SATA Air Acores' Dash 8-Q400 at Ponta Delgada Airport.

There were no complimentary services onboard. It was not even possible to buy anything as the flight was so short. Flight attendants sat almost the whole duration of the short flight. The cabin was clean and comfortable but it didn't have any entertainment.

SATA Air Acores Dash 8-Q400 in air
SATA Air Acores' Dash 8-Q400 has just taken off from Ponta Delgada Airport heading to Terceira.

From Terceira to Lisbon

A few days later, we flew from Terceira to Lisbon with Azores Airlines. The flight was operated with an Airbus A320. From the terminal, we had a bus ride to the plane and it departed on time.

Azores Airlines Airbus A320
Azores Airlines Airbus A320 waiting for take off to Lisbon from Terceira.

The aircraft was old but in good condition. Also, the seats were seemingly old but they felt comfortable. Azores Airlines has a few newer planes but we were not lucky enough to fly with them this time.

The cabin in the economy class was spacious enough even for tall passengers. There were shared LCD screens but their image quality was really poor which is comparable to that of old VHS tape. Also, airline magazines were available in seat pockets.

How to Find an Inexpensive Flight?

Follow our simple checklist to find a good deal:

  • Compare flight prices on Skyscanner on different dates.
  • Choose the most suitable schedule and price.
  • Decide whether to book directly from the airline or via an Online Travel Agency (OTA)
  • Let Skyscanner to forward you to the chosen booking site.
  • Go through the booking process and avoid buying unnecessary extras.
  • Double check all the details CAREFULLY before the payment.


Friendliness and Behaviour of the Crew

On both flights, the crew acted professionally. We felt they offered us friendly customer service.


Cabins of both aircraft were old but in good condition. There was enough leg space in the economy class. No business class was available on either of the flights.

The cabin of SATA Air Acores Dash Q400
The cabin of Dash 8-Q400 of SATA Air Acores is simple but comfortable.

Onboard Services

On the inter-island flight, there was not any kind of onboard service: Neither free nor paid one. The short duration of the flight explained this.

On the flight from Terceira to Lisbon, Azores Airlines served ham and cheese sandwiches with really fresh and tasty juice. Also coke and coffee were available. It is a rare moment anymore to get any complimentary service onboard so having a sandwich with a drink is much better than many other airlines can do.

Overall Rating

SATA Air Açores and its sub-carrier Azores Airlines are not low-cost airlines. Despite this, they still maintain a good service level having a complimentary service onboard and checked luggage included in the ticket prices. In addition, tickets are affordable so both airlines are good choices for Azores vacationers.

SATA Air Acores Dash 8-Q400
SATA Air Acores flies with Bombardier Dash 8-Q200 and 8-Q400 fleet.

The fleet is old but the airlines have kept them in good condition. We felt that flying with SATA Group was a good choice even though there are a few great competitors.

Bottom Line

the Azores is a truly beautiful destination which we would like to revisit in the future. A few airlines are flying from Europe and America to the Azores but taking a flight of Azores Airlines is an excellent choice. The airline offers flights to and out of the Azores at a reasonable price.

SATA Air Acores Dash 8-Q400 boarding
Passengers are boarding SATA Air Acores' Dash 8-Q400 at Ponta Delgada Airport.

To fly between Azores Islands, there are many carriers to choose from. SATA Air Açores flies daily to many routes between the islands. According to our experience, SATA Air Açores operates flights professionally and safely. Certainly, we would fly with them again.

Have you been to Azores? How did you get there? Comment below!

Tags: , ,
Destination: Portugal

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