Five Years Ago: TAAG Angola Airlines Takes First Boeing 777-300ER

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Five years ago today, Angola national flag carrier TAAG Angola Airlines celebrated the delivery of its first extended-range Boeing 777-300ER. The aircraft, named Iona, with the registration number D2-TEJ, touched down at Quatro de Fevereiro Airport (LAD) after a non-stop 8,709 NM (14,015 km) flight from Seattle.

TAAG Angola 777-300ER ANG #13560-WE626 Delivery
The Boeing 777-300ER was deployed on the Luanda to Lisbon route. Photo: Boeing

TAAG Angola Airlines ordered the Boeing 777-300ER to augment its flagship service between Angola and the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. After achieving independence from its colonial ruler in 1975, Angola descended into civil war with one faction backed by Cuba and the Soviet Union and the other by the United States and South Africa. When the war ended in 2002, Angola emerged as a presidential constitutional republic and was eager to renew ties with Portugal.

TAAG has eight Boeing 777s

Because of its close ties and a shared language, the Luanda to Lisbon flights served as a vital link between the southern African country and Europe. When speaking about the aircraft’s delivery in a Boeing statement, Executive Chairman of TAAG Angola Airlines Peter Hill said;

“The 777-300ER forms the backbone of TAAG’s long-haul fleet, and today’s delivery means we are now the largest operator of 777’s in southern Africa, offering passengers an unrivaled onboard experience to our international destinations from the region.”

TAAG route map
TAAG pre-COVID-19 route map. Image TAAG

At the time of its delivery, the Boeing 777-300ER was the most fuel-efficient plane in its class and the most reliable large twin-engine jet aircraft. When speaking about the delivery in the Boeing statement, Boeing Commercial Aircraft vice president for sales in Latin America, Caribbean, and Africa, Van Rex Gallard, said:

“We are honored to have TAAG Angola Airlines, as a key partner in Africa, one that continues to grow with Boeing, that values and truly benefits from our products and services.” 

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“The 777-300ER will provide TAAG’s network with a new airplane with a wonderful interior and greatly improved efficiencies; it’s a great source of pride for everyone here that it continues to be an all-Boeing carrier.”

TAAG has 16 planes

Based at Quatro de Fevereiro Airport (LAD) in Luanda, TAAG Angola Airlines remains an all Boeing airline except for three De Havilland Canada DHC-8-400s. According to aviation enthusiast website Planespotters.net, TAAG Angola Airlines currently operates a fleet of 16 aircraft with an average age of 9.6 years. The TAAG Angola Airlines fleet comprises the following planes:

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  • 5 x Boeing 737-700s
  • 3 x Boeing 777-200s
  • 5 x  Boeing 777-300ERs
  • 3 x De Havilland Canada DHC-8-400s

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TAAG was once managed by Emirates

When the Boeing 777-300ER was delivered from Boeing’s Delivery Center in Everett, Washington, TAAG Angola Airlines was being managed by Dubai-based Emirates. After signing a management concession agreement with the Angolan government in 2014 and entering into a codeshare agreement, Emirates turned the struggling airline’s business around.

TAAG Angola Airlines TAAG Linhas Aéreas de Angola Boeing 777-300ER D2-TEJ
Iona arriving in Lisbon on 29 April 2018. Photo: BriYYZ via Wikipedia

In 2014 when Emirates took over, they managed to cut TAAG Angola Airlines’ loss from $175 million a year to $5 million. Unfortunately for TAAG, the agreement was terminated in 2017 after the Emirati carrier had trouble trying to get $340 million in revenue out of Angola.

Have you ever flown on a TAAG Angola Airlines Boeing 777-300? If so, we would love to hear about the experience in the comments.

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