Quick Airline Information:

✈Airline IATA* code: TP
✈Airline ICAO* code: TAP 
✈Founded: 19 September 1946 
✈Website: www.flytap.com
✈Alliance: Star Alliance
Operations and Destinations 🌍
Fleet ✈️
Photo Slide 📷
Safety Video 🎬
Airline reviews 
*IATA: (International Air Transport Association)
*ICAO: (International Civil Aviation Organization)

History Menu:

✈Airline Beginnings

TAP Air Portugal is the national airline of Portugal, Europe. It can trace its early beginnings back to 14 March 1945 as Transportes Aéreos Portugueses (Portuguese Air Transportations), which began commercial services on 19 September 1946, with a flight from Lisbon to Madrid using a Douglas DC-3. Later that year on the 31 December, TAP began its Linha Aérea Imperial, a twelve-stop colonial service including Luanda, Angola and Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique. It covered 24.450 km within 15 days (both ways), making it the longest air service operated with DC-3, twin-engine airliners, of the time. 

TAP started services in 1946 with services from Lisbon to Madrid with DC-3 planes. (Photo:douglasdc3.com)
✈Expansion and Development

In 1947 domestic services commenced from Lisbon to Porto as well as from São Tomé to London. Four Douglas DC-4 were purchased in this year, remaining in service until 1960. These were used on routes to Africa and major European destinations including London. The airline was privatised for the first time in 1953, changing from a public service to a public limited company (plc) and began also in 1953, services to Tangier and Casablanca. Lockheed Super Constellation four-engine pressurised airliners, were acquired in late 1955. 

The DC-4 was purchased in 1947 expanding the fleet and destinations around Europe. (Photo:williamdemarest.com)
Lockheed Super Constellation were added from 1955. (Photo:airliners.net)

Beginning in 1960, TAP Air Portugal launched Rio de Janeiro as its first destination in Brazil, in a jointly-operated air service with Panair do Brasil (1960-1965) and Varig (1965–1967). A route from Lisbon to Goa, a 19-hour flight with five stopovers, was added to the network in the beginning of the 1960s. TAP entered the jet era in July 1962, when three Sud Aviation Caravelle twin-jet airliners were acquired and operated on the airline's most competitive European routes. 

In 1966 TAP operated its first solo flight to Brazil, when a company Boeing 707 landed at Galeão Airport in Rio de Janeiro, on 17 June. In 1967, the airline achieved a milestone: it became the first European airline to fly exclusively with jets. In 1969, service to New York City via Santa Maria Island began. Boston was added to the New York service in 1970. 

The firsts jets for TAP were the Sud Aviation Caravelle from 1962. (Photo:airliners.net)
TAP operated its first solo flight to Rio de Janeiro in 1966 with its new Boeing 707. (Photo:planespotters.net)

The first of four Boeing 747-200s was received in 1972. TAP began 1974 with 32 aircraft operating to more than 40 destinations on four continents. Following the 25 April 1974 revolution, Portugal was caught up in the wave of nationalisations during the following year and TAP was no exception, thus becoming a state-owned corporation in 1975. The first advanced Boeing 727-200 for European routes were acquired in 1975. Also after the independence of Angola and Mozambique, the important African market decreased tremendously and two Boeing 747s were sold in 1976.

In 1972, TAP Air Portugal took the first of its biggest aircraft ever, the Boeing 747-200. (Photo:jetphotos.com)
In 1975 the Boeing 727-200 joined the TAP fleet for European services. (Photo:airliners.net)

During the 1980s, the fleet of Boeing 707s and 747s was replaced with Lockheed L1011 TriStars in 1983, and Airbus A310s in 1988, on long-haul routes. In 1985 TAP established its charter subsidiary Air Atlantis, providing leisure flights to most European cities, which operated Boeing 707, Boeing 727 and Boeing 737 jets. 

From 1981 TAP revised its image and colours. In 1983 it operated the Lockheed L1011 TriStars instead of the Jumbo's it replaced. (Photo:airliners.net)
In 1985 TAP created a charter airline Air Atlantis, using Boeing 707, 727 and 737-300 (pictured). It then was absorbed by TAP in 1993.(Photo:airliners.net)
The first Airbus plane joined TAP in 1988 in the form of the Airbus A310. (Photo:planespotters.net)

In 1989, TAP became a publicly traded company (Sociedade Anónima) and their New York service moved to Newark Liberty International Airport from JFK and in 1991 introduced services to Berlin. By the late 1990s, TAP had expanded its fleet by selling its older Boeing 727s and Boeing 737s, and had replaced them with Airbus A319 (1997), A320 (1992) and A321 aircraft (2000). In 1993, TAP began flying to Tel Aviv.The TriStars were sold and replaced by Airbus A340s in 1994, giving TAP an Airbus-only fleet. 


1996 saw the introduction of services to Boston via Terceira Island, the inauguration of service to Macau and the launch of TAP's website. In 1997, TAP began flying to Punta Cana and Bangkok, though these flights proved uneconomical Flights and were discontinued in 1998. A strategic alliance was formed with Swissair in 1997. Part of the agreement would lead to Swissair buying a 34% stake of TAP. Due to financial difficulties, the Swiss company ended up not buying the agreed shares of TAP Air Portugal, unilaterally revoking the partnership agreement which led to unexpected costs for the Portuguese airline in 2000, with the culmination of a legal action taken against Swissair.

Airbus A320 (pictured) replaced the older Boeing 737 and 727 from 1992. (Photo:al-airliners.be)
Long haul routes saw the introduction of the Airbus A340-300 from 1994, giving TAP an all Airbus fleet. (Photo:netairspace.com)
The Airbus A321 joined the fleet in 2000. (Photo:planespotters.net)

Later, TAP became a member of Star Alliance on 14 March 2005, the same day on which the company celebrated its 60th anniversary. TAP Air Portugal was rebranded as TAP Portugal in February 2005. TAP also ended its code-sharing agreement with Delta Air Lines and began a new agreement with United, as part of its membership in the Star Alliance. In 2006, TAP Air Portugal signed a deal for the acquisition of 99.81% of the Portuguese regional airline Portugália, which had been a primarily competitor to TAP on the domestic and European routes since 1988. TAP received the next phase of its fleet renewal when it took delivery of the first Airbus A330-200 in March 2006. It started scheduled flights to Moscow, Warsaw and Helsinki, in June 2009. 

With the arrival of the Airbus A330-200 in 2006, TAP introduced a bright new colour scheme. (Photo:plane-mad.com)

After deciding to outsource its Passenger Service System in 2008, TAP migrated its reservation and inventory systems to the Altéa system managed by Amadeus. In 2010 TAP introduced two new routes to Africa: Marrakesh and Algiers, the latter discontinued in 2017. The launch of these new routes highlighted the carrier airline reinforcement of its growth strategy for Africa, which is an important segment in the network where the airline has continually expanded since 2001. Miami and Porto Alegre were the latest long range routes introduced in 2011. 

Since the nationalization of the airline in 1975, there were several attempts to become privately owned, but the deals never went forward to paper. Then, in order to obtain its three-year national bailout, Portugal was forced to sell its interests in several companies, including the state-run airline. Several international operators were drawn by the airline's strategic position, but on 18 October 2012, the Portuguese government announced a sole potential bidder for the privatized national carrier: the South American consortium Synergy Aerospace, owner of Colombian airline Avianca. But agreements did no go as expected and the deal fell through. 

✈Recent History and Growth

On 21 March 2014 the airline announced that it would buy two ATR 42-600s for its subsidiary company, Portugália, replacing the smaller Beechcraft 1900D previously operated by PGA Express. The Portuguese government planned to sell its controlling stake in the flag carrier to one or more large investors in a relaunch of the privatisation in 2014. It intended to sell a 66% stake in the airline. 

In May 2015, an over-week-long pilot strike led to the cancellation of around 3,000 TAP Air Portugal flights. Finally after all failed attempts of privatization, a deal was reached in June 2015, the Portuguese government decided to sell the TAP Air Portugal Group, owner of the national air carrier, TAP Air Portugal, to the Atlantic Gateway consortium which took control of 61% of the capital of the Portuguese flag carrier. After the settlement, an ambitious plan came into effect to grow and reflect the airline. It announced new orders, 14 wide-body A330s and 39 narrow-body A320 Family aircraft. 

Then, in October 2015, a new left-wing government sought to return majority control of the airline to the state, having signed in February 2016 a deal with the private consortium, to own 50%. On 14 January 2016, TAP Air Portugal announced that the subsidiary Portugália Airlines would be rebranded TAP Express by 27 March 2016, as part of further restructuring measures within the group TAP announced the ceasing of long-haul flights to Panama City, Manaus and Bogota as well as the European connections to Hanover and Zagreb.

Portugalia become a wholly owned subsidiary of TAP in 2006. It was then rebranded as TAP Express in 2016. (Photo:airliners.net)

Under new management, TAP planned to promote Portugal, in the United States, and Lisbon as a prime gateway into Europe for North American travellers, and thus, on February 2016, the airline announced the return of New York’s John F. Kennedy International and Boston’s Logan International, both being operated with new Airbus A330-200 delivered in June of the same year. 

TAP expanded its network in 2017, adding 10 routes, some which were previously operated by the airline in the past, Abidjan, Alicante and Las Palmas, Bucharest, Budapest, Cologne and Stuttgart, Fes, Lomé, London City, and Toronto. In March 2017, Miguel Antunes Frasquilho, was selected to be TAP’s new chairman of the board. It was decided on 14 September 2017, that TAP Portugal was to be renamed as TAP Air Portugal, going back to the name used between 1979 and 2005. 

In 2018 TAP took delivery of the first of the new variants of the Airbus Neo family, the A320Neo and the A321Neo. 

The Airbus A320Neo was integrated into the short haul fleet from April 2018. (airplane-pictures.net)
June 2018 saw the introduction of the Airbus A321Neo. (Photo:jetphotos.com)

TAP took delivery of the first A330-900 in November 2018, being the launch customer for the type which it put into service to its routes to the USA and Brazil. In 2019, TAP will launch two new routes to the USA, Chicago and Washington DC, flying with its Airbus A330, as from June.  It also introduced the long variant of the Airbus A321LR in April 2019 and used it on its links to Tel Aviv. 

As from October 2019, all the Airbus A340-300 were stored and retired as they were replaced by the newer A330-900, which improved greatly the fuel consumption and environment footprint compared to the A340-300.

History source: Wikipedia.org + airfleets.net + flytap.com

TAP was the launch customer for the new Airbus A330-900 (Neo), flying it from November 2018. (Photo:jetphotos.com)

Operations and Destinations 🌍:

TAP Air Portugal's route network includes 84 destinations in 35 countries. Its main operating base is located in Lisbon Airport, where most connections and long haul flights depart from. Additionally it operates a secondary hub at Porto, with seasonal, charter and schedule flights to selected destinations. The carrier has embarked on a dramatic expansion plan in the last few years with new destinations being added from 2017 to the USA, Europe and South America, particularly in Brazil, where the airline has a strong presence. The Portuguese national airline offers a good on board service and inclusive of meals and luggage on most of its international destinations. 


Below is the list of the destinations* flown by TAP Air Portugal, including those cities served by the airline's subsidiaries Portugália and TAP Express:

Region 🗺️ Destinations 🌍🌎🌏
✈Portugal (domestic)Faro, Funchal, Lisbon, Ponta Delgada, Porto, Porto Santo, Terceira
✈Europe and Russia
A Coruña, Alicante, Amsterdam, Asturias, Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Bilbao, Bologna, Bordeaux, Brussels, Budapest, Cologne, Copenhagen, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Florence, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Geneva, Hamburg, Helsinki, Las Palmas, London, London, London, Luxembourg City, Lyon, Madrid, Málaga, Manchester, Marseille, Milan, Moscow, Mulhouse, Munich, Nantes, Nice, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Rome, Seville, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Toulouse, Valencia, Venice, Vienna, Vigo, Warsaw, Zürich
Belém, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Fortaleza, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador da Bahia, São Paulo
 ✈South America (except Brazil)
✈North America 
 Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York City, Newark, San Francisco, Toronto, Washington, D.C.
 ✈Africa Abidjan, Accra, Algiers, Bissau, Boa Vista, Casablanca, Dakar, Luanda, Maputo, Marrakech, Praia, Sal, São Tomé, São Vicente, Tanger
 ✈The Middle East Tel Aviv

*Destination list is for reference only. Please check directly with the airline for updates. 

*Note some destinations are only seasonal.*Correct info as of Sept 2019.                                

Fleet ✈️:

The fleet of TAP Air Portugal consists of entirely Airbus products, with the exception of the regional subsidiaries, which use a mix of Embraer and ATR turboprop aircraft. Long haul flights are flown with Airbus A330-300 and new A330-900 Neo which the airline was the launch customer for. 


The fleet* consists of the following aircraft including those operated on behalf of the regional partners:

Network 🌐 Aircraft ✈️
ATR 72-600. (operated by White Airways) Embraer E190/195 (operated by Portugalia)
 Short haul
Airbus A319, A320, A320 Neo, A321, A321Neo.
✈Long haul
 Airbus A321LR, A330-200/300, A330-900
*Correct fleet info as of Sept 2019.      

TAP Air Portugal Photo Slide 📷:​

TAP Air Portugal Safety Video (A330)  🎬:​

Reviews ⭐:

Best airline to fly to Portugal, overseas territories and international connections to Brazil/USA 👎No direct routes to Asia
Wide range of destinations in Brazil👎Punctuality record. 
 Member of the Star Alliance for mileage redemption. 👎Pay for seat selection at online check-in for European flights
New planes introduced Airbus A321Neo and A330-900Neo
Baggage and meals included on most intercontinental flights.