Uncertainty over what will happen when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union has spelled the end of the line for TAP Portugal flights to London City Airport. This is according to reporting in Portuguese daily newspaper Diário de Notícias.
The Lisbon newspaper says that poor performance in the English market and uncertainties over the demand for flights to Portugal once the UK is no longer in the European Union have led TAP Portugal to suspend flights.
The Portuguese flag carrier has said it will try and compensate for the loss of London City Airport by adding more seats on flights to Lisbon and Porto that depart from other London airports (Heathrow and Gatwick), during peak periods.
At the same time as TAP Portugal announces the suspension of its London City Airport flights, the airline says it is going to create two new routes connecting Lisbon and Porto to the Spanish capital, Madrid.
TAP Portugal is betting big on Spain
Quoting TAP Portugal, Diário de Notícias says that the airline will redirect “the capacity of the flights Porto-Barcelona and Porto-Lyon, suspending the operation in these markets, which have wide offer from competitors, to build the brand new air link between Porto and Madrid, which will have six daily flights, more than twice the current offer.”
Besides the added flights from Porto and Lisbon to Madrid, TAP Portugal plans to expand its flights to other Spanish cities. It has plans in place to launch a new route to Santiago de Compostela and to strengthen other connections to Spain by adding daily flights between Lisbon and the cities of Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia, Malaga, and Seville.
Flights between London City Airport and Portugal will stop in October
TAP Portugal currently operates one flight a day from London City Airport to Porto and two daily flights to Lisbon. Due to London City Airports;’noise restrictions, flights are not allowed to operate out of the Docklands airport from Saturday lunchtime until Sunday lunchtime. Night-time flights landing after 22.30 and before 06.30 are also not permitted.
When Business Traveler reached out to the airline for comment, TAP Portugal gave them the same information regarding Brexit uncertainty and passenger numbers, adding both routes would end on October 27th, 2019.
When Business Traveler asked if there was a possibility of the flights being reinstated, the TAP Portugal spokesperson said that there was “no indication that they will at the moment.”
How does London City Airport feel about losing an airline?
To understand what kind of effect this will have on London City Airports future plans, Business Traveler reports the airport operator as saying:
“We are naturally disappointed that TAP Air Portugal will suspend Lisbon and Porto operations at the end of October, attributable to overcapacity in the London-Lisbon and London-Porto markets.
“Route churn is an industry reality, but we hope we may see TAP back at London City in the future, as their services were valued by many.
“In the meantime, we’ll focus on re-distributing these sought-after slots with new and existing airlines and look ahead to a new Antwerp service from September, during what’s likely to be a record-breaking year for passengers at London City.”
Did you ever fly from London City Airport to Portugal? Please let us know in the comments.