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TAP Portugal

TAP Portugal
Founded March 14, 1945 (1945-03-14)
Commenced operations September 19, 1946 (1946-09-19)
Hubs Lisbon Portela Airport
Secondary hubs Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto)
Focus cities Madeira Airport
Frequent-flyer program TAP Victoria
Airport lounge TAP premium lounge
Blue Lounge
Alliance Star Alliance
Fleet size

63 (excluding subsidiaries)

79 (including subsidiaries)
Destinations 88
Company slogan English: 'With Arms Wide Open'
Portuguese: 'De Braços Abertos'
Headquarters Building 25
Lisbon Airport
Lisbon, Portugal
Key people Fernando Pinto (CEO)
Revenue Increase € 2,480 billion (2013)[1]
Profit Increase € 34 million (2013)[1]
Website .com.flytapwww

TAP Portugal, founded in 1945 as Transportes Aéreos Portugueses, SGPS, S.A., commonly known as TAP, is the flag carrier airline of Portugal. TAP Portugal is 100% state owned and has its head office on the grounds of Portela Airport in Santa Maria dos Olivais, Lisbon, and has been a member of the Star Alliance since 14 March 2005, the same day on which the company celebrated its 60th anniversary. Its hub in Lisbon is a key European gateway at the crossroads of Africa, South America and North America.

According to the JACDEC Airliner Safety Report, TAP Portugal is rated Western Europe's safest airline and the world's fourth safest airline, only after Qantas, Finnair and Air New Zealand.[2]

TAP's route network comprises 88 destinations in 38 countries worldwide. TAP operates almost 2,000 weekly flights with a fleet of 61 Airbus aircraft, and 16 further aircraft servicing regional subsidiary carrier Portugália Airlines.

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.[3]

TAP originally meant Transportes Aéreos Portugueses (Portuguese Air Transportations). This was dropped in 1979 when the company changed its name to TAP Air Portugal, then dropped again to its current operational name, TAP Portugal.

The Portuguese Government plans to sell its controlling stake in the flag carrier to one or more large investors in a relaunch of the privatization.[4] It intends to sell a 66 percent stake in the airline, with 5 percent of that set aside for its 7,500 staff.[5] 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,[6] 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.[7]


  • History 1
    • Early postwar operations 1.1
    • The jet era - the mid 1960s onwards 1.2
  • Corporate affairs 2
    • Subsidiaries 2.1
  • Destinations 3
  • Partnerships 4
    • Commercial 4.1
    • Technology 4.2
  • TAP Cargo 5
  • On board 6
  • Loyalty Programme 7
  • Fleet 8
  • Incidents and accidents 9
  • Bibliography 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Early postwar operations

Douglas DC-4 of TAP arriving at London Heathrow Airport from Lisbon in 1954

The airline was founded on 14 March 1945 and began commercial services on 19 September 1946,[8] from Lisbon to Madrid with a Douglas DC-3 under the name Transportes Aéreos Portugueses (TAP). On 31 December, TAP 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 Lourenco Marques.[9]

Three Sud Caravelle twin-jet airliners were acquired in July 1962 and were operated on the airline's more competitive European routes.[10]

The jet era - the mid 1960s onwards

A TAP Air Portugal L-1011-500 at Lisbon Portela Airport in 1988.
Airbus A340-300 with former livery 1979-2005
A TAP Portugal A330-200 in current livery

The one-millionth passenger flew on TAP on 19 June 1964, 18 years after the airline began operations. In 1969, service to New York 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 (Empresa Pública) and changing its name to TAP Air Portugal in March 1979.

TAP purchased Boeing 747s during the 1970s, replacing their Boeing 707s; but they were eventually sold due to lack of demand. They were replaced by Lockheed TriStars and Airbus A310s on long-haul routes. In 1985 TAP established its charter subsidiary Air Atlantis. 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.

In 2005, TAP Portugal became the 16th member of Star Alliance. 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).[11] 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.[12] It started scheduled flights to Moscow, Warsaw and Helsinki, in June 2009.[13]

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,[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17]

In order to obtain its three-year national bailout, Portugal was forced to sell its interests in several companies, including the state-run airline.[18] 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.[18] Portuguese financial daily Dinheiro Vivo indicated that the government would suspend privatization negotiations, if German Efromovich's Synergy Aeropsace bid was not approved.[18][19]

Corporate affairs

TAP head office

TAP has its head office in Building 25 on the grounds of Portela Airport in Santa Maria dos Olivais, Lisbon.[20][21]

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."[22][23] The music video featured TAP employees.[22][24] The inclusion of the three singers was intended to highlight the proximity between peoples in the Lusophone countries.[22][23]

Lisbon airport apron with TAP Portugal A330-200's on the background and Portugália Airlines Embraer 145, its subsidiary airline company, on the forefront


TAP's subsidiaries are:

  • TAP Serviços (100%)
  • CateringPOR (51%)
  • Lojas Francas de Portugal (51%)
  • Megasis (100%)
  • UCS (100%)


TAP Portugal destinations
  TAP Portugal Destinations
  TAP Portugal New Destinations in 2014
A TAP Portugal Airbus A320-200 at Frankfurt Airport (2011)

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 Portugália or PGA Express.[25]

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.[26] The routes are expected to start with the arrival of six new aircraft.[27] 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.[28][29]



Codeshare agreements

TAP has codeshare agreements with several carriers, * indicates fellow Star Alliance partners.


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.

TAP Cargo

TAP Cargo has five all-cargo routes. Besides these routes, TAP Cargo uses all TAP Portugal flights. These are:

TAP Cargo also operates Lisbon-Luanda all-cargo non-regular flights, in an Avient Aviation DC-10F, a Girjet 747-200F, and other leased aircraft.

On board

Cabin view of a TAP flight

The aircraft are divided into a two-class cabin - business class (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 reffurbished during 2013, adding a new seat design and new in-flight entertainment systems.[31]

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, online as a fully responsive website (compatible with desktops, smart phones and tablets), and as a freely downloadable application for Apple's iPad.[32]

Loyalty Programme

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 elegible 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:[33]

  • Victoria Miles Winner, the basic tier, with no mileage requirements.
  • Victoria Silver Winner, (Star Alliance Silver), with a requirement of 30000 Status Miles or 25 segments flied within one year.
  • Victoria Gold Winner, (Star Alliance Gold), with a requirement of 70000 Status Miles or 50 segments flied within one year.

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.


A TAP Portugal Airbus A340-300 landing at Lisbon Portela Airport.

As of 13 October 2014, TAP Portgual operates an all-Airbus fleet consisting of the following aircraft (excluding Portugalia's fleet):[34][35][36]

Incidents and accidents

Boeing 727 with classic livery 1950s-1979 similar to the one involved in Flight 425
  • 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.


  • Chillon, J., French Postwar Transport Aircraft, 1980, Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, isbn 0-85130-078-2.
  • Marson, Peter J, The Lockheed Constellation Series, 1982, Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, isbn 0-85130-100-2.


  1. ^ a b Lucro da TAP sobe para 34 milhões de euros em 2013 RTP Online, 12 March 2014
  2. ^ TAP é a quarta companhia aérea mais segura do mundo - relatório JACDEC - MSN Notícias. Toda a informação aqui no MSN. Powered by Lusa. (2011-01-14). Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
  3. ^ Tap Portugal. TAP Portugal (2012-01-12). Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "World Airline Directory – TAP Air Portugal" (PDF).  
  9. ^ Marson, 1982, p. 258
  10. ^ Chillon, 1980, pp. 53-54
  11. ^ TAP Maintenance and Engineering
  12. ^ TAP Maintenance and Engineering: Aircraft Maintenance
  13. ^ Easier Travel: TAP flies to Warsaw, Moscow & Helsinki retrieved 8 December 2008
  14. ^ Star Alliance webpage
  15. ^ World Travel Awards: TAP Portugal retrieved 24 December 2011
  16. ^ Star Alliance: About TAP Portugal
  17. ^ TAP é a quarta companhia aérea mais segura do mundo - relatório JACDEC MSN Notícias (Portuguese)
  18. ^ a b c Peláez, Marina Watson (19 October 2012). "Privatisations: Sole Bidder for TAP-Air Portugal". Lisbon, Portugal. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  19. ^ Pratas, José Carlos (19 October 2012), Basílio Horta: Processo de privatização da TAP "é um escândalo nacional" (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: Dinheiro Vivo, retrieved 23 October 2012 
  20. ^ "Estatutos TAP." TAP Portugal. Retrieved on 23 February 2010. "A sede da sociedade é em Lisboa, no Edificio 25, no Aeroporto de Lisboa."
  21. ^ "Contact Us." TAP Portugal. Retrieved on 15 December 2011. "AEROPORTO DE LISBOA / LISBON AIRPORT ED. 25 - R/C DTO / BUILDING 25 - Ground Floor (right side) 1704-801 LISBOA"
  22. ^ a b c 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."
  23. ^ a b 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.
  24. ^ "Mariza, Paulo Flores e Roberta Sá - De Braços Abertos." (Archive) TAP Portugal Official YouTube Channel. Retrieved on January 25, 2012. "These artists were joined in the choir by some of TAP's employees."
  25. ^ Destinations TAP, retrieved 15 February 2012
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Emirates adds Iberian Connections with Codesharing". 20 December 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ iPad Inflight Magazines. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  33. ^
  34. ^ TAP Portugal Fleet Information
  35. ^ TAP Portugal fleet list at Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  36. ^ Portugália fleet list at Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  37. ^

External links

  • Official website
  • TAP Corporate
  • TAP Victoria
  • Up Magazine

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