Tap Douglas

History and fun facts - TAP Air Portugal

Friday, May 8, 2020

The Portuguese flag carrier needs no further introduction. With one of the most colourful liveries out there, TAP’s fleet is instantly recognizable. However, you might have never taken one of their flights since, as one can imagine, they don’t fly from the UK that frequently. Odds are, you’ll only find yourself on board a TAP Air Portugal flight if you’re headed to an exotic destination or flying through Portugal. At the end of this blog post, we will also cover one of the best destinations one can reach with a TAP air flight.

TAP Air: How did it all start?

The name stands for Portuguese Aereal Transportation (Transportes Aéreos Portugueses) and the company was founded all the way back in 1945. The company quickly started operating international flights. In fact, its inaugural flight took place back in September of 1945 from Lisbon to Madrid. The aircraft of their choice back then: the Douglas DC-3.

TAP Air history and fun facts

Image credit and creative commons license

Even though the company was first established by the State, it was privatised shortly after. This continuos swing between private and public ownership will be found throughout the airline’s history. Today, the legacy airline has been semi-privatised and the main shareholder is the Atlantic Gateway Consortium. A group led by David Neeleman, founder of other carriers like JetBlue and WestJet.

Portugal’s relationship with its colonies and former colonies has had a great impact on the airline itself. The company is still the main carrier between the former colonies and Portugal and faces little competition in this segment. An example of the relevance of these routes is how the airline had to adapt after the independence of Angola and  Mozambique in 1976. The decrease in demand led to the carrier having to sell the two Boeing 747s that operated routes to the countries.

TAP is also an important player in Europe

When it comes to flying in Europe, nowadays passengers will probably think first of Ryanair, EasyJet and Lufthansa. However, TAP Air Portugal has been connecting the Portuguese cities of Lisbon and Porto with other European capitals for a long time. In 1980, the company launched additional flights connecting to other cities, like Barcelona, and increased frequencies to cities like Rome, Madrid and Milan. Int hat decade, Lisbon became a fairly well-connected city. All in a significant effort by the airline to carry at least 2 million passengers per year.

If you want to compare it to another European airline, it is very similar to KLM, a flag carrier focused on international routes since the countries from which they originate are not just not that big.

TAP Air Portugal fun facts and history

TAP Air Portugal in numbers

Airline’s age: 75 years (founded back in 1945)
Fleet size: 87 aircraft
Destinations served: 93
Hub and HQ: Lisbon Airport
Employees: 7,300+
Passengers carried in 2019: 17 million 

Fun facts and other information about TAP Portugal

- Back in 1976, TAP Air Portugal was the first European airline to exclusively operate with jets.

- It took the airline almost 20 years to carry one million passengers - from 1946 to 1964.

- Their first transatlantic route was, to no surprise, a connection between Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro firstly operated in 1960.

- The airline officially changed its name from Transportes Aéreos Portugueses to TAP Air Portugal in 1979 in a bid to make the name more recognisable for international travellers and to shed its ties to colonialism.

- To celebrate their 40th anniversary, TAP built their own museum dedicated to the history of the airline. You can still visit it today and it has expanded to cover other aviation industry aspects other than TAP Air Portugal. It is located in Sintra, a beautiful town, and it is called Museu do Air.

- TAP Air holds an Airbus-only fleet. Nevertheless, some of its subsidiaries do operate different makes of aircraft.

- TAP Air and Iberia are the main European airlines connecting the continent with Latin America.

- TAP’s Portugal Stopover program may allow you to stay in Lisbon or Porto without additional costs. On intercontinental flights from Europe and Africa, you may select the stopover and it should not increase your ticket’s price. Some bookings in Europe with a connecting flight may also be eligible.

- Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the airline was operating up to 2,000 flights a week.

TAP AIR Portugal’s on-time performance for 2019 was 61.8% of flights operated on-time. Not the best, there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Did you know that you can claim compensation if your flight with TAP Air Portugal has been delayed or cancelled?

That’s right! If your flight with the Portuguese carrier was delayed or cancelled, you may be entitled to compensation. You can get up to 600 euros according to European regulations. Learn more about your rights when flying to and from Europe or simply check your flight to see if you’re entitled to claim compensation below.

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What’s the best TAP Air destination?

TAP Airs best destinations

Quite the difficult question that one is. Perhaps you might consider it cheating, but especially when taking advantage of TAP’s free stopover program, there’s a little-known destination that you can reach with the Portuguese flight carrier that we believe is highly undervalued: The Azores.

These incredibly breathtaking tropical islands are just a few hours away from Portugal and they offer you a great variety of activities. If you love surfing, hiking, amazing beaches and views, great food and music, don’t miss out on visiting these islands. Furthermore, get the best of both world in one single trip by spending a couple of days in Porto and enjoy some of the best wines and views that a European city may offer.
TAP Air Portugal Best destination AZORES

TAP Air Portugal frequently asked questions

Is TAP Air cheap?

Even though it offers very low fares for certain routes, TAP Air is still a legacy airline and should not be considered a low-cost carrier. Its prices for flights inside the EU may not compete with the likes of Ryanair and EasyJet. Nonetheless, when booking long-haul flights, you can get incredibly high-value deals, especially when flying to and from Africa or America to Europe and when taking advantage of their stopover program.

Is TAP Air safe?

Yes! They have to comply with all the European regulations and they are rated on the same level as SAS Scandinavian Airlines and many other major airlines. The fact that the airline is not commonly known outside of the Iberian peninsula should not deter you from considering it as a viable option for your next holiday.

To which alliance does TAP Air belong?

Tap Air Portugal is part of the Star Alliance, whose members include United Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Canada, ANA, Copa Airlines and Turkish Airlines among others.

Which airlines are subsidiaries of TAP Air?

  • TAP Express
  • TAP Servicos
  • TAP Tours
  • TAP Maintenance and Engineering

Is TAP Air Portugal subject to European regulations?

Yes, all TAP Air Portugal bookings that originate from or end in Europe are covered by Regulation EC 261/2004 amongst other pieces of legislation. That means that you may claim compensation if your flight has been delayed or cancelled. This also includes schedule changes and if you have been denied boarding due to overbooking. However, there are certain conditions that need to be met for you to be able to claim compensation.

Claiming compensation for a delayed or cancelled TAP Air Portugal flight

We hope you enjoyed finding out more about TAP Air! Despite the airline’s efficiency and professional experience, many passengers who fly with this carrier often face delays and cancellations. Recall that its OTP is only 61.8%!

At Flight-delayed.co.uk we specialise in claiming the compensation that delayed passengers are entitled to. This can be as much as 600 euros per passenger! If you have been delayed in the last 6 years, you can use our free flight checker to see if you are entitled to claim compensation. We also work on a no-win-no-fee basis. That means that you only pay our 25% win-fee if we successfully claim your compensation. Best of all, our win-fee covers all possible costs associated with claiming your compensation. Even if we have to go to court for it. Check to see if you’re entitled and exercise your rights as a passenger.

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