TAP Air Portugal is ramping up its flights to North America and plans to go head to head with Azores Airlines in the lucrative Boston marketplace. The Portuguese national flag carrier has just announced two new routes to North American and one new route to Brazil, as well as the 15 new flights it had already announced.
The flights are all going to be operated using the Lisbon based carrier’s new single-aisle Airbus A321LR aircraft.
TAP will go up against Azores Airlines with its flight to Boston
The first of the three new routes will see six weekly flights between Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS) and Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL). The second of the new routes is from Lisbon Portela Airport to Zumbi dos Palmares International Airport (MCZ) in Maceió, Brazil. The third flight and the one that is most interesting is TAP Air Portugal’s move to connect the Azores with Boston, pitting it against Azores Airlines.
In a move to reinforce its growing ambitions in the North Atlantic, TAP Air Portugal will offer five flights a week between Boston and the Azores. To match the new flights, the Portuguese airline will increase its flights from Lisbon to Ponta Delgada from four to five per week.
TAP wants to use JetBlue as a feeder airline
TAP Air Portugal’s main aim is to use it’s North American partner JetBlue, who has a hub at Boston, to provide them with passengers to the Azores and mainland Portugal. Rather like the way Icelandair offers a free stopover in Reykjavík, TAP Air Portugal will now be able to add the Azores as an attraction for American flyers visiting Europe.
It has already proven to be a successful ploy by TAP who offers passengers a free stopover in Lisbon or Porto before flying on to another European destination. It also doesn’t hurt to know that nearly a million Americans were born in or descend from the Azores and that their diaspora cannot resist the temptation to return home.
TAP will now have 11 routes to North America
In a way, you have to feel sorry for Azores Airlines as this was probably their plan after having taken delivery of their first of three Airbus A321LRs. When talking about TAP Air Portugal’s new routes in a press release from the airline CEO of TAP Antonoaldo Neves said:
“This is a historic moment in the Company’s journey. With the inauguration of these new routes, TAP goes from three routes in 2015 to 11 North American routes, the same number as Brazil. This is another important step in the company’s network diversification and expansion plan, which strengthens its exposure to new and less volatile markets.”
These new fuel-efficient long-range single-aisle jets are certainly a game-changer when it comes to making markets that would before not have been considered now feasible. Azores Airlines already fly to Boston from Ponta Delgada. With the two airlines now competing for the same passengers, it has to be a big win for the consumer.
Once the TAP Air Portugal tickets go on sale it will be interesting to see how they are priced and what the response from Azores Airlines will be. What do you think about TAP Air Portugal’s strategy? Please let us know in the comments