LONDON – TAP Portugal’s (TP) Airbus A321neo painted in the retro livery has completed its first flight at the Hamburg Finkenwerder (XFW) plant. A321-251NX, currently registered as D-AZAO, will become CS-TJR and according to data from Planespotters.net, is still awaiting delivery to the airline.

The last Airbus A321neo delivered to the airline was CS-TXF, which was back in July 2020 and is the third aircraft that TP has received this year alone.

Photo: Dirk Grothe

TAP Airbus Orders


The configuration for such aircraft is very varied at the present time. Some A321neo for TP offer 16 seats in Business and 155 in Economy. Others offer just 221 seats in Economy only, which is probably relating to some of the long-distance flights these aircraft are doing.

These new A321neo aircraft family aircraft are part of the firm order signed with Airbus back in November 2015, when the carrier ordered 14 A330-900neo and 39 A320neo Family aircraft.

The airline, according to Simple Flying last year, was considering an order for the Airbus A321XLR aircraft, in order to continue its long-haul operations with lower overheads. Such new aircraft have been brought in place to replace the older Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft that were originally in the fleet.

Preparing for the Future


The aircraft being delivered over the course of this year, even during a global pandemic is not surprising given the airline’s recent announcement last month over launching new routes for the Summer 2021 season. The aircraft restarted operations again back in August, including the announcement of route changes too.

The new destinations include Ibiza and Fuerteventura, in Spain and Zagreb, in Croatia; Oujda, in Morocco; and Djerba and Monastir, in Tunisia. Additionally, the carrier’s inaugural flights from Lisbon to Cancun, Cape Town, Agadir, and Santiago de Compostela announced for this year will take place in 2021.

Photo: Dirk Grothe

TAP Route Launches


The carrier has also debuted its brand new service to Montreal (YUL) from Lisbon (LIS) back in July 2020, meaning that the airline is wanting to push ahead with service launches to get customers back in the air.

On top of this, services between the Azores and Boston (BOS) were also launched, even amid Q1 losses being posted by the airline and fleets being cut amid nationalization proceedings.

Photo: Dirk Grothe

Growth Ahead?


It remains clear that with TAP pushing ahead with such increases in fleet and routes, that the short and long-term strategies for the carrier remain robust, adapting to changes on an everyday basis.

All eyes will now be on the airline for it to perform sufficiently well in order to justify receiving brand new aircraft in the wake of the pandemic. However, with more fuel-efficient aircraft on the horizon for TP, this should not be a problem at all.

Photo: Dirk Grothe

Featured Image: TAP Portugal Airbus A321neo in the Retro livery. Photo Credit: Dirk Grothe