TAP Air Portugal prides itself on being the national carrier of its country. Along with transporting passengers to and from Portugal, it has a vital role in connecting travelers via its hubs. With aspect, the airline introduced an innovative stopover program for fliers to see the wonders of its nation. The carrier is looking forward to welcome more visitors via this service as flight activity starts to rise.
The Portugal stopover program allows passengers to stay in Portugal for one to five nights for free. With travel opening up again, Simple Flying caught up with Ricardo Dinis, TAP’s Sales Director for the UK, Ireland and the Nordics about the progress of this project.
Passengers can choose from either Lisbon and Porto as their point of stopover. Lisbon is noted as one of the oldest cities in the world. The capital of Portugal is situated along the Atlantic coast and is lauded for its coloful buildings, fine dining, and cultural essence. Meanwhile, Porto is situated further north and is the country’s second-largest city. There are numerous picturesque locations, such as the Douro River, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many visitors would also love the old churches and palaces dotted around the area.
To make a stopover, passengers can see if their route is eligible by using TAP’s checker. They can then follow the page’s next steps to get their visit going.
The right place
Essentially, TAP’s home is geographically positioned at the edge of Europe. From Portugal, it can travel across the Atlantic to the Northeast of Brazil and the East Coast of the United States with the A321LR. It can also push the boundaries further with its A330neos. So, for passengers connecting with the airline or its partners from across the continents, they can take advantage of the stopover initiative and not have to endure a long journey with several transfers in one go.
The stopover program was first launched in 2016 and utilization was growing consistently throughout the years. However, the global health crisis naturally took its toll on broader operations. Nonetheless, TAP is looking to get the momentum going once again.
Dinis explained the following:
“It was going very well before the pandemic, and now, we’re hoping it will pick up again. Because we have such a beautiful country to show. Our main focus is to connect Europe with Brazil, the US, and Africa. However, we want to showcase our hub in our country. So, by creating that stopover program, we allow people to stay at no extra cost. So, they get to enjoy the city and get to know the country.”
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The right time
With Portugal’s year-round sun, Dinis is positive that the number of travelers flying with the airline will continue to remain in the right direction now that stringent restrictions have been relaxed.
“If we ignore May, since February, passenger activity has been growing constantly. Even October, which is usually quiet as it’s after the summer, was better than we expected. We’re hoping to have a good November as well because I think people will be flying more than usual this winter as they couldn’t before. We benefit from amazing weather throughout the whole year. You can have beautiful sunny days in Portugal, even in the winter, and that will attract a lot of people from other countries.”
TAP is joined by the likes of Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines with their stopover programs. These two carriers notably also provide a crucial role in connecting passengers from numerous regions to their destinations.
Overall, with the health crisis shaking up operations across the industry, passengers are expected to have to consider alternative routes, leading to more connections in the current climate. So, there will undoubtedly be additional opportunities to take advantage of TAP’s stopover program in this next chapter.
What are your thoughts on TAP Air Portugal’s stopover program? Are you looking to take advantage of this initiative in the future? Let us know what you think of this service in the comment section.