TAP Air Portugal is the flag carrier airline of Portugal, headquartered at Lisbon Airport which also serves as its hub. TAP – Transportes Aéreos Portugueses – has been a member of the Star Alliance since 2005 and operates on average 2,500 flights a week to 90 destinations in 34 countries worldwide. The company has a fleet of 100 airplanes, all of which manufactured by Airbus with the exception of 22 made by Embraer and ATR, operating on behalf of the regional airline TAP Express.
The airline was established as Transportes Aéreos Portugueses (Portuguese Air Transportations) on 14 March 1945; it began commercial services on 19 September 1946 with an inaugural flight from Lisbon to Madrid using a Douglas DC-3. Having been founded as a national institution, the airline was privatised for the first time in its history during 1953; throughout its existence, TAP would alternate between various forms of public and private ownership. During its early decades of operation, the airline expanded and launched numerous routes, including the lengthy Linha Aérea Imperial colonial service across Africa, various domestic and European services, its first transatlantic service to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition to DC-3s, TAP procured Douglas DC-4 Skymasters and Lockheed Super Constellation airliners.
During July 1962, TAP entered the jet era via the procurement of several French-built Sud Aviation Caravelles. On 19 June 1964, TAP carried its one-millionth passenger. During the following year, it bought its first Boeing-built jetliner, the 707. In 1967, the airline became the first in Europe to exclusively operate jets. In 1972, TAP received its first Boeing 747-200 wide-body jetliner. In 1979, the airline underwent a modernisation programme, changing its name to TAP Air Portugal. By the end of the decade, the airline operated a fleet of 32 modern airliners that served in excess of 40 destinations on four continents. During the 1980s, the fleet of Boeing 707s and 747s was replaced with Lockheed L-1011 TriStars and Airbus A310s on long-haul routes. In 1983, TAP started operating its first Boeing 737-200s on short-haul routes. By the late 1990s, TAP had sold its Boeing 727s and 737s, replacing them with Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft; its Lockheed L-1011 TriStars were also replaced by Airbus A340s. These changes led to TAP becoming an Airbus-only operator.
In June 2015, TAP was semi-privatised and became majority-owned by the Atlantic Gateway Consortium, led by David Neeleman, who founded JetBlue and Azul Brazilian Airlines and co-founded WestJet, together with Portuguese entrepreneur Humberto Pedrosa. The Atlantic Gateway Consortium purchased 61% of the carrier from the government of Portugal on 24 June 2015, with an option to buy the Portuguese government’s remaining 34 percent stake in 2018. This deal has been surrounded in controversy because it was completed at the end of the center-right government’s mandate with wide opposition from TAP employees. On October 2015, a new left-wing government has sought to return majority control of the airline to the state, having signed in February 2016 a deal with the private consortium, which indicates that the company is 50% owned by the Portuguese state, 45% by the Atlantic Gateway Consortium and 5% available shareholder to collaborators and employees of TAP Air Portugal. In July 2020 the Portuguese state increased its stake to 72,5 %. It acquired this stake from Atlantic Gateway Consortium, which now holds 22,5 % In December 2020, the Portuguese government unveiled a rescue package of $4.1 billion which means that around 3500 jobs will be cut.
Transportes Aéreos Portugueses S.A.
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Aeroporto de Lisboa, Building 27, 10th Floor
P.O. Box 50194 – 1704-801
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