TAP Air Portugal has finally retired all four of its A330-300s. TP22 from Salvador, Brazil to Lisbon was the carrier’s last in operation. It landed at Humberto Delgado on July 13th and is now scheduled for delivery to Air Canada.
TAP has, over the past few years, invested heavily in a radical overhaul of its long-distance fleet.
We reported in April TAP’s intention to retire the A330-300 in line with its efforts to consolidate its fleet with new types. The airline has, according to Airbus, 13 A330neos on order, which TAP is substituting for the outgoing A330s.
The carrier is at present the only airline in the world to operate all of Airbus’s new engine options.
Air Canada has bought TAP’s four A330s. The Canadian flag carrier will replace its B767s with the new type. The aircraft will for the time being remain fitted with a Singapore Airlines interior. The four aircraft, according to International Flight Network carry the registrations CS-TOU, -TOV, -TOW and -TOX.
The arrival of TAP’s planes will bring Air Canada’s A330-300 fleet to 12 in total. When the nearly-new aircraft arrive the 767s will head for Air Canada Rouge.
In May, TAP received its first A330neo, the 100th addition to the fleet. In line with its fleet strategy, it expects further deliveries throughout the next six years. On order are 21 A330neos, 19 A320neos, 17 A321neos, and 14 A321LRs, according to Globe Newswire.
TAP is the launch airline of the A330neo which it operates between Lisbon, Chicago O’Hare, San Francisco and Washington, DC. The carrier further bolstered its transatlantic operations in June of this year with an inaugural flight of the A321LR from Porto to Newark.
At the time of partial privatization of the airline in 2015, the renewal of the fleet was of utmost importance to shareholders. Since then, TAP’s drive to modernize has seen its acquisition of the world’s newest types.
The 71 new aircraft expected by 2025 represents a 21% fleet expansion. The addition of new long-haul types such as the A321LR amply buoys TAP’s plans for network expansion.
New transatlantic routes have yielded a 39% increase in customer numbers contributing to a combined growth of over 170% since 2015. In the same period, TAP experienced a 22.8% increase in passenger numbers between Brazil and Europe.
At the inauguration of TAP’s first A330neo flight from Chicago O’Hare to Lisbon on June 1st David Neeleman, owner of 45% of TAP said, “With more than 70 new planes on the way, this is only just the beginning. We have 10 gateways from Brazil to Portugal and believe we can support the same number from the US.
“We now serve some 75 destinations in Europe and Africa and fully 50 percent of our American passengers are flying us to places beyond Portugal, many making use of our popular Portugal Stopover program.”
The A330neos operated by TAP feature the latest personalized entertainment systems and wireless connectivity. TAP is the first European carrier to offer free web-based messaging to long-haul passengers.
The cabin’s economy class is divided between EconomyXtra and Economy with seat pitches being marginally wider than average at 34 and 31 inches respectively. For its A330neo customers, TAP also provides Executive business class with improved storage facilities and fully-reclining chairs.
50% of TAP is owned by the Portuguese government, 45% by the Neeleman’s Atlantic Gateway Consortium and 5% by airline employees.