TAP Portugal transforms under new owners to tap potential; at forefront of narrowbody long haul

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A period of restructuring following investment by new shareholders in TAP Portugal in Nov-2015 has led to a resurgent airline. It returned to profit in 2016 after two years of losses and enjoyed a surge in passenger numbers in 4Q2016.

The investment by the Atlantic Gateway Consortium, which HNA Group will formally join in 1H2017, provided funds for fleet expansion. TAP's orders include A321neoLR aircraft, giving it the potential to open new long haul routes not possible with widebodies.

TAP's VP finance, Teresa Lopes, told the CAPA Fleet & Finance Summit on 2-Mar-2017 that the A321neoLR would be deployed on the Atlantic, putting the airline at the forefront of narrowbody long haul operations. TAP's new shareholders have also enabled new partnerships with Brazil's Azul, JetBlue of the US and China's Hainan Airlines. The TAP-Azul relationship has already progressed beyond codeshare and the Hainan relationship offers much potential.

In the past year TAP has also reorganised its regional operation, launched a new fare structure and embarked on a seat densification programme to lower unit cost and drive revenue. As Ms Lopes said, "We are certainly going through a transformation, we don’t want to be envisioned as a legacy carrier anymore".

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