MIAMI — Flag carrier TAP Portugal has signed a codeshare agreement with New York City-based JetBlue that will give customers more flight options out of the latter’s JFK and Boston-Logan airport hubs. The carrier is also allowing travelers to experience up to three days free in Lisbon or Porto before continuing their journey to 45 cities in Europe and Africa.
Under the deal, TAP’s code will be on 34 U.S. cities served by JetBlue, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Detroit and San Juan. The airline currently operates out of Newark Liberty and Miami airports. It started Boston service on June 11, while JFK daily service starts on July 1, using new Airbus A330s.
JetBlue was the best carrier to partner with at JFK and Boston, said David Neelman, the co-owner of TAP Portugal. “And I certainly have an affinity for JetBlue, having started the airline. [CEO] Robin [Hayes] is a good friend,” he said. “And the deal is a win-win for both of us.”
As for TAP’s city choices, Boston is a big city with a lot of people who like to go to Europe, said Neeleman. “There’s also a large Portuguese community in Boston and they like to go back to Portugal, so it made sense,” he said.
JFK Airport is important for Europe and many other places, said Neeleman. “For those who want to go to places in southern Europe like Lyonne or Nice, [France], Portugal, we are the best way to get there. TAP is the most efficient way to get to southern Europe,” he said
Neeleman offered a list of criteria for future cities TAP might serve. “We’re interested in large cities with a good per capita income that may not have nonstop service to Europe,” he said. “We’re getting [Airbus] A321neos that can do a six- to seven-hour flight to cities like Providence, Hartford and Washington, D.C. There’s a lot of options out there.”
Lisbon is an ideal airport to connect to Southern Europe, said Neeleman. “If you’re going to Nice, it doesn’t make sense to fly into a hub like Frankfurt and go backward,” he said.
Another thing TAP offers that no other airline except Icelandair does is a new stopover program, said Neeleman. “You can check out Lisbon or Porto for up to three days for no additional charge,” he said. Travelers can connect to 45 cities in Europe after the stopover, including Berlin, Rome, Madrid, London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Geneva, Moscow, Stockholm and Vienna.