JetBlue Airways and Azul founder David Neeleman is reportedly interested in bidding for TAP Portugal in the Government's upcoming relaunch of the carrier's privatisation, and reportedly has already had contact with the Portuguese Government over the possibility (Jornal de Negocios, 04-Jun-2013). Mr Neeleman reportedly has the encouragement of the Brazilian Government in the pursuit, while the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) has reportedly offered a line of credit to assist with the acquisition (Folha de São Paulo, 03-Jun-2013). As previously reported by CAPA, Brazilian President Dilma plans to visit Portugal on 10-Jun-2013, with TAP reportedly being a possible point of discussion. The Portuguese Government has yet to announce a date or details of the privatisation's relaunch.
JetBlue and Azul founder interested in TAP and has Brazilian Government encouragement: report
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TAP Portugal transforms under new owners to tap potential; at forefront of narrowbody long haul
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".
Norwegian Air: 10 new North Atlantic routes enabled by new narrowbody aircraft and price stimulation
Norwegian's long anticipated new trans Atlantic routes, to be launched in summer 2017, will add five airports in the UK and Ireland and three in the US to its existing long haul network. Norwegian already operates to eight US primary airports from London Gatwick. By using new narrowbody technology Norwegian is opening trans Atlantic travel to smaller cities that could not support widebody service.
The new trans Atlantic routes, the first to be operated by its Irish subsidiary NAI after receiving US rights late in 2016, will deploy new Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft with a longer range than existing narrowbodies, and Norwegian is the European launch customer of the type.
In total there will be 10 new routes, comprising 38 weekly flights from Edinburgh, Belfast International, Cork, Shannon and Dublin serving three secondary airports on the US east coast. These are Stewart International (SWF), Providence (PVD) and Hartford Bradley International (BDL). These US airports are small and relatively unknown in Europe, and Norwegian will have to rely on price stimulation more than it has done on existing long haul routes. Nevertheless, Norwegian is once more leading the market with this innovation.