|Founded||14 March 1945|
|Commenced operations||19 September 1946|
|Hubs||Lisbon Portela Airport|
|Secondary hubs||Porto Airport|
|Focus cities||Madeira Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||TAP Victoria|
TAP premium lounge |
|Fleet size||80 (including TAP Express)|
|Company slogan||With Arms Wide Open|
|Parent company||Atlantic Gateway (joint venture between Azul Brazilian Airlines and Barraqueiro Group) (45%), Parpública (50%), TAP Workers (5%)|
|Key people||Fernando Pinto, CEO; Humberto Pedrosa, President; David Neeleman, President|
|Revenue||€ 2.489 billion (2014)|
|Profit||€ 46.4 million (2014)|
TAP Portugal is the flag carrier airline of Portugal, headquartered at Lisbon Airport which also serves as its hub. TAP (Transportes Aéreos Portugueses) is a member of the Star Alliance and operates on average 2,500 flights a week to 76 destinations in 29 countries worldwide. The company has a fleet of 80 airplanes, 63 of which manufactured by Airbus and the remaining 17 by Embraer and ATR, operating on behalf of the sub-brand TAP Express.
In June 2015 the company was semi-privatised and became majority-owned by the Atlantic Gateway Consortium, led by David Neeleman, owner of Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras, and Humberto Pedrosa. The Atlantic Gateway Consortium purchased 61% of the carrier from the government of Portugal on 24 June 2015, with an option to buy the Portuguese government's remaining 34 percent stake in 2018. This deal has been surrounded in controversy because it was completed at the end of the center-right government's mandate with wide opposition from TAP employees and a large fraction of the population. Since the October 2015 elections a new left government has sought to return majority control to the state. In February 2016 the government signed a deal with the private consortium and the airline has returned to state control. Currently the company is owned: 50% by the Portuguese state, 45% by the Atlantic Gateway Consortium consortium and 5% by collaborators and employees of TAP.
TAP Portugal is rated as three-star by Skytrax.
Early postwar operations
The airline, founded on 14 March 1945 as Transportes Aéreos Portugueses, SGPS, S.A. (Portuguese Air Transportations), began commercial services on 19 September 1946, from Lisbon to Madrid with a Douglas DC-3. On 31 December, TAP (Transportes Aéreos Portugueses) began its Linha Aérea Imperial, a twelve-stop colonial service including Luanda, Angola and Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique.
In 1947, domestic services commenced from Lisbon to Porto as well as from São Tomé to London. Four Douglas DC-4 Skymasters were purchased in 1947, remaining in service until 1960. These were used on the routes to Africa and to major European destinations including London. TAP began service to Tangier and Casablanca in 1949. In 1953, the airline became a private company.
Lockheed Super Constellation four-engined pressurised airliners were acquired in late 1955 and were immediately introduced on the TAP African scheduled services to Luanda and Lourenço Marques.
Three Sud Aviation Caravelle twin-jet airliners were acquired in July 1962 and were operated on the airline's most competitive European routes.
The jet era - the mid 1960s onwards
The one-millionth passenger flew on TAP on 19 June 1964, 18 years after the airline began operations. In 1969, service to New York City via Santa Maria Island began. Boston was added to the New York service in 1970. In 1975, TAP was nationalised, becoming a state-owned corporation.
TAP dropped its original name, Transportes Aéreos Portugueses, in 1979 when the company officially changed its name to TAP Air Portugal.
TAP purchased 4 Boeing 747s in 1970, beyond some more Boeing 707s. After the independence of Angola and Mozambique, the important market for Africa decreased extremely and two 747 were sold in 1976. Since the 1980s the 707s and the 747s were replaced by Lockheed L-1011 TriStars and Airbus A310s on long-haul routes. In 1985 TAP established its charter subsidiary Air Atlantis which operated Boeing 707, Boeing 727 and Boeing 737 jets. By the late 1990s, TAP had expanded its fleet by selling its older Boeing 727s and Boeing 737s, and had replaced them with Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. The TriStars were sold to Air Luxor and were replaced by Airbus A340s, giving TAP an Airbus-only fleet.
In 1989, TAP became a publicly traded company (Sociedade Anónima) and their New York service moved to Newark Liberty International Airport instead of JFK and in 1991 introduce the service to Berlin. In 1993, TAP began flying to Tel Aviv. In 1994, TAP signed for a code sharing arrangement with Delta Air Lines for North Atlantic service. This agreement ended in 2005.
1996 saw the introduction of service to Boston via Terceira Island, the inauguration of service to Macau and the launch of TAP's Website. In 1997, service began to Punta Cana and Bangkok. Flights to Bangkok and Macau were discontinued in 1998.
TAP is a member of the Star Alliance since 14 March 2005, the same day on which the company celebrated its 60th anniversary. TAP Air Portugal was re-branded as TAP Portugal in February 2005, employing 9,750 staff. TAP also ended its code-sharing agreement with Delta Air Lines and began a new agreement with United Airlines, as part of its membership in the Star Alliance. Under this agreement United's code (UA) is placed on TAP Portugal's transatlantic flights and some African flights, and TAP Portugal's code (TP) is placed on United flights.
In 2006, TAP Portugal signed a deal with Espírito Santo International for the acquisition of 99.81% of the Portuguese regional airline Portugália. Furthermore, it started a code-sharing agreement with US Airways on all routes between Portugal and the United States with connecting services out of Newark and Philadelphia.
In 2007 TAP Portugal was awarded by NATO as the Best Engine/Aircraft Source of Repair for the NATO AWACS Maintenance Program and has been distinguished with the highest maintenance and overhaul practice awards from Airbus Industries in 1996, 2000, 2003, and 2005, being certified for full aircraft, engine and component maintenance and overhaul by the FAA, EASA, and several other important certification entities and aircraft manufacturers (Airbus, Boeing and Embraer). TAP Portugal has complete maintenance and overhaul bases in Portugal (Lisbon) and Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre), and has specialized line maintenance stations in three continents: 4 in Portugal, 8 in Brazil, and 1 in Angola. It started scheduled flights to Moscow, Warsaw and Helsinki, in June 2009.
After taking a decision to outsource its Passenger Service System in 2008, TAP migrated its reservation and inventory systems to the Altéa system managed by Amadeus. Prior to the migration to Altéa TAP was using a system derived from Delta Air Lines called Tapmatic and had been in use since 1972.
Development since 2010 and privatization
As of 2010 TAP Portugal has introduced new routes to Africa, Marrakesh & Algiers. The launch of these new routes highlights TAP's reinforcement of its growth strategy for Africa, which is the only segment in the network where the airline has continually expanded since 2001, going from 236,000 passengers to 541,000 passengers, an increase of more than 129%. With a 6.4% rise in 2009. Miami and Porto Alegre are the latest long range routes that have been announced in 2011.
In 2010 TAP Portugal was awarded the "World's Best Airline Award" by British Condé Nast Travel magazine, after being rated for its excellence in previous years, and was rated as the "Best Airline to South America" by the World Travel Awards in 2009 and 2010, with nominations for "Europe's Leading Airline" and "Europe's Leading Business Class" in 2007, 2009 and 2010. TAP Portugal has also consistently achieved high ranks and various awards from specialized air travel publications such as Skytrax and Publituris due to the company's excellence in service and performance. In recent years, TAP Portugal has been consecutively elected World’s Leading Airline to Africa and to South America by the World Travel Awards (WTA), considered the "Oscars" of the world travel industry.
Beginning on 28 February 2011 TAP began airing its "TAP With Arms Wide Open" (TAP de Braços Abertos) campaign, featuring its new slogan. Three singers, the Brazilian singer Roberta de Sá, the Portuguese singer Mariza, and the Angolan singer Paulo Flores starred in a music video with the song "Arms Wide Open." The music video featured TAP employees. The inclusion of the three singers was intended to highlight the proximity between peoples in the Lusophone countries.
In order to obtain its three-year national bailout, Portugal was forced to sell its interests in several companies, including the state-run airline. Several international operators were drawn by the airline’s strategic position, but on 18 October 2012, the Portuguese government announced a sole potential bidder for the privatized national carrier: the South American consortium Synergy Aerospace, owner of Colombian airline Avianca. Portuguese financial daily Dinheiro Vivo indicated that the government would suspend privatization negotiations, if German Efromovich's Synergy Aeropsace bid was not approved.
On 21 March 2014 the airline announced that it would buy two ATR 42-600 for its subsidiary company Portugália replacing the smaller Beechcraft 1900D previously operated by PGA Express. However, they are now operated by White Airways on behalf of TAP Portugal leaving PGA Express without operations.
The Portuguese Government still plans to sell its controlling stake in the flag carrier to one or more large investors in a relaunch of the privatization. It intends to sell a 66 percent stake in the airline, with 5 percent of that set aside for its 7,500 staff. Among known bidders are South American businessman German Efromovich, owner of the Colombian carrier Avianca, whose 2012 bid for TAP failed to meet the initial conditions, a consortium formed by American businessman Frank Lorenzo and Portuguese entrepreneur Miguel Pais do Amaral, American Brazilian businessman David Neeleman founder of JetBlue in the United States and Azul in Brazil and finally, Globalia, the parent company of Air Europa.
In June 2015, the Portuguese Government decided to sell the TAP Portugal Group, owner of the national air carrier, TAP Portugal, to the Gateway consortium formed by the partnership between David Neeleman and Humberto Pedrosa, who take control of 61% of the capital of the Portuguese flag carrier. TAP Portugal will maintain the country as the airline’s main hub for a minimum of 30 years.
On 14 January 2016, TAP Portugal announced that the subsidiary Portugália will be rebranded TAP Express by 27 March 2016 as part of further restructuring measures within the group. On the same day, TAP Portugal also announced that the entire Portugália fleet will be replaced with new aircraft by July 2016 which will receive a livery similar to that of TAP Portugal.
On February 2016, TAP Portugal announced new daily non-stop service to Lisbon from both New York’s John F. Kennedy International and Boston’s Logan International airports. The new daily Boston service starts on June 11 and the new JFK daily flights commence on July 1. Both will be operated with new Airbus A330 aircraft to be delivered in June. In addition, TAP also serves Lisbon from Miami and from Newark. These routes will grow to daily service this summer, and TAP also serves Porto twice weekly from Newark. Altogether, TAP’s US service will grow to 30 flights per week.
TAP Portugal's subsidiaries are:
TAP Cargo is the freight branch of TAP Portugal. It does not operate own cargo aircraft but sells freight capacity aboard TAP's passenger flights and also maintains five scheduled all-cargo routes utilizing other airlines:
- London Heathrow Airport operated by European Air Transport with a Boeing 757
- Frankfurt Airport operated by MNG Airlines with an Airbus A300
- Cologne Bonn Airport operated by MNG Airlines with an Airbus A300
- Brussels Airport operated by Royal Jordanian with an Airbus A310
- Dakar Airport
In 2012, TAP Portugal served 78 destinations in 34 countries across Europe, Africa, North America and South America, with some domestic, European and African destinations being operated by TAP Express.
In 2011, more destinations were added to TAP network, with direct flights from its Lisbon hub to Accra, Athens, Bamako, Bordeaux, Dubrovnik, Düsseldorf, Manchester, Miami, Porto Alegre, São Vicente and Vienna, expanding its presence in Africa and adding its second destination in North America.
Expansion in the intercontinental route network has been strained by the lack of space experienced at Lisbon's Portela International Airport combined with lack of adequate long-haul aircraft and no recent re-capitalisations (the last of which took place nearly 10 years ago by the Portuguese government).
With the Portuguese government, as well as the current TAP CEO Fernando Pinto proposing an urgent privatisation of the airline as soon as the beginning of 2012, this could lead to more aircraft being leased or bought to booster TAP Portugal's profitable long-haul operations and start new routes. By March 2014 the privatisation was still on hold.
In December 2013, TAP Portugal announced ten new destinations to its network. It will count with 6 new destinations within Europe, Belgrade, Gothenburg, Hannover, Nantes, Saint Petersburg, Tallinn and 4 in Latin America serving Belém, Bogotá, Manaus and Panama City. The routes are expected to start with the arrival of six new aircraft. On 21 March 2014 the airline announced their 11th route for 2014 Oviedo and that it would acquire two ATR 42-600 for its subsidiary company PGA Express which operates mostly Spanish routes.
After privatization in June 2015 it was announced TAP would add 10 new destinations in the United States, where it now has two - Miami and New York, and eight to 10 destinations in Brazil, where it already has 11. Many Europeans transit through Portugal to fly to Brazil because of the large amount of slots TAP holds on the South American country.
TAP has announced in January 2016 the creation of the Porto-Lisbon shuttle designated as “Ponte Aérea” to connect both destinations with flights every hour adding to 16 roundtrip dailies.
TAP has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Canada
- Air China
- All Nippon Airways
- Austrian Airlines
- Azores Airlines
- Azul Brazilian Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- Gol Transportes Aéreos
- LAM Mozambique Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
- S7 Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- Swiss International Air Lines
- Thai Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- Ukraine International Airlines
- United Airlines
As of July 2016, the fleet of TAP Portugal consists of the following aircraft :
|Airbus A319-100||21||—||30||102||132||One aircraft painted in TAP Portugal 70 Years livery.|
|Airbus A320-200||19||—||18||150||168||One aircraft painted in Star Alliance livery.|
|Airbus A321neo||—||24||TBA||Includes A321LR variant|
|Airbus A330-200||16||—||24||239||263||One aircraft painted in Star Alliance livery|
Another aircraft painted in TAP Portugal 70 Years livery
9 older aircraft to be replaced by Airbus A330-900neo.
|Airbus A330-300||—||6||30||255||285||Entering service in 2017-2018|
|Airbus A330-900neo||—||14||TBA||Entering service in 2017|
Replacing 12 A350-900 order.
Replacing A340 and 7 older A330.
|Airbus A340-300||4||—||36||232||268||To be replaced by Airbus A330-900neo.|
|ATR 72-600||8||—||—||70||70||operated by White Airways under the TAP Express brand|
|Embraer 190||9||—||—||110||110||operated by Portugália under the TAP Express brand|
The consortium that won the company's privatization in June 2015 has promised to buy 53 new Airbus aircraft for TAP. It was announced new orders would include 14 wide-body A330s and 39 narrow-body A320 Family aircraft.
TAP Portugal has announced in January 2016 the order of new 8 ATR 72-600 and 9 Embraer 190 and the creation of the new brand TAP Express that will replace Portugália PGA Airlines. In January 2016, TAP Portugal also announced the order of more two Airbus A330-200 to add for his wide-body family. TAP Portugal will be the first airline to fly the Airbus A330neo, the latest version of the plane maker's current generation of wide-body jets. The aircraft, a revamped and more fuel-efficient version of the A330 with new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, is due to enter service in late 2017. TAP ordered 14 of the jets as part of a wider fleet reorganization last year. The Portuguese airline will also be the first to take a new cabin layout called “Airspace”. The design allows airlines to add more seats.
TAP Portugal offers two different lounges at Lisbon Airport, the TAP Premium Lounge, available for Victoria Gold Winners, Star Alliance Gold members and passengers flying on business class on Star Alliance flights, while Victoria Silver Winners have only access to the Blue Lounge, contracted with the handling subsidiary Ground Force.
The aircraft are divided into a two-class cabin - business class (branded as tap|executive) and economy classes (tap plus, tap classic, tap basic and tap discount). Tap does not offer first class services.
On the medium-haul fleet of Airbus A319, Airbus A320 and Airbus A321 aircraft, both cabins feature leather seats with an in-flight entertainment (IFE) system of several LCD screens that are extended from the cabin ceiling. The tap|executive class offers better privacy than economy class and more meal options.
On the long-haul fleet of Airbus A330 and Airbus A340 aircraft, the cabin is divided into a two-class layout. The economy class of the new Airbus A330's and Airbus A340's is equipped with modern individual LCDs with touchscreen and a complete IFE, while the older Airbus A330's feature an average IFE and less-updated individual screens. The entire fleet of Airbus A340 economy class has been refurbished during 2013, adding a new seat design and new in-flight entertainment systems.
In tap|executive class, seats are capable of turning into lie-flat beds. New Airbus A330 aircraft are also fitted with extra functions.
TAP's inflight magazine is named 'UP' and is available on board, as a fully responsive website (compatible with desktops, smart phones and tablets), and as a freely downloadable application for Apple's iPad.
TAP Portugal current loyalty program is Victoria, which awards members miles based on the distance travelled, ticket fare and class of service. As part of Star Alliance, miles can be earned as well from Star Alliance and other eligible partners. Membership in the Victoria programme is free. Award Miles are redeemable for free tickets, upgrades to a higher class of service, extra baggage allowance, and lounge access. Award Miles can furthermore be donated to charity. The Victoria Programme is divided into 3 tiers:
- Victoria Miles Winner, the basic tier, with no mileage requirements.
- Victoria Silver Winner, (Star Alliance Silver), with a requirement of 30,000 Status Miles or 25 segments flown within one year.
- Victoria Gold Winner, (Star Alliance Gold), with a requirement of 70,000 Status Miles or 50 segments flown within one year.
Accidents and incidents
According to the JACDEC Airliner Safety Report released in January 2011, TAP Portugal was rated Western Europe's safest airline and tied for fourth worldwide with three other airlines (Qantas, Air New Zealand, and Finnair). The JADEC report rates TAP Portugal well above any of its competitors in its prime geographic operating areas: Europe, Atlantic Islands, Africa, North America and South America.
- TAP Portugal Flight 425: the crash of Flight 425 at Madeira Airport on 19 November 1977 remains TAP Portugal's only fatal accident. Flight 425 was flying to Madeira Airport from Brussels via Lisbon. The Boeing 727 crashed while landing on runway 24 in heavy rain. Before the crash, the pilot had made two unsuccessful attempts to land, and had decided to make one more attempt. The plane touched down too late and overran the runway which was, at the time, only 1600 metres long. The plane crashed onto a beach at the end of the runway, splitting into two pieces and bursting into flames. Of the 164 people aboard, 131 were killed and 33 survived. It is the second deadliest aeroplane accident in Portugal (after Independent Air Flight 1851). The crash prompted officials to explore ways of extending the short runway on Madeira. Because of the height of the runway relative to the beach below, an extension was very difficult and too expensive to perform. A 200 m (656 ft) extension was built between 1983 and 1986. In 2000 the runway was extended to 2,781 m (9,124 ft) long and was capable of handling wide body commercial jets such as the Boeing 747 or Airbus A340.
- Annual report 2014, PDF, retrieved 29 July 2015 (Portuguese)
- Marson, 1982, p. 258
- Chillon, 1980, pp. 53-54
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- Easier Travel: TAP flies to Warsaw, Moscow & Helsinki retrieved 8 December 2008
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- Tap Portugal. TAP Portugal (2012-01-12). Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
- Nery, Sérgio. "TAP lança nova campanha institucional na BTL 2011." Jornal de Turismo. Friday 25 February 2011. Retrieved on 24 January 2012. "Para ilustrar esta proximidade e complementaridade entre povos, a portuguesa Mariza, o angolano Paulo Flores e a cantora brasileira Roberta de Sá juntaram para dar voz a uma música contagiante. No video, os cantores profissionais foram acompanhados por um coral, constituído por trabalhadores da TAP."
- Veloso, Maria João. "MORA & AVIS – WITH ARMS WIDE OPEN." (Portuguese: "MORA & AVIS – DE BRAÇOS ABERTOS.") Up. TAP Portugal, 1 June 2011. Retrieved on 24 January 2012.
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- TAP é a quarta companhia aérea mais segura do mundo - relatório JACDEC MSN Notícias (Portuguese)
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- Marson, Peter J, The Lockheed Constellation Series, 1982, Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, ISBN 0-85130-100-2.
Media related to TAP Portugal at Wikimedia Commons