MIAMI – Today in aviation, PGA Portugalia Airlines (NI) operated its inaugural flight from Lisbon (LIS) to Porto (OPO) in 1990.

PGA had been established two years earlier as a competitor to the country’s flag-carrier TAP Air Portugal. Initially, only domestic flights across Portugal and a limited number of international charters were operated. Scheduled international flights from LIS and OPO were not permitted until June 1992 following a change in Portuguese legislation.

The carrier then went on to expand its network across France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, and Spain. 

Fokker 100 CS-TPF was one of six operated by the airline. This example was introduced to the fleet in December 1994. Photo: Alf van Beem, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Award Winner


Renowned for its high levels of service, PGA won numerous awards including Best European Regional Airline, Best European Airline, Best European Cabin Crew awards amongst others.

On November 6, 2006 TAP Air Portugal Group purchased 99.81% of PGA’s shares. It then became a regional subsidiary of its parent. This continued until January 2016 when it was announced that the PGA Portugalia name would be retired and the airline rebranded as TAP Express.

Portugalia operated a fleet of eight Embraer ERJ-145s. Photo: Aktug Ates (GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html or GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html, via Wikimedia Commons

From Fokker 100s to Embraer E190s


Its fleet of six Fokker 100s and eight Embraer ERJ-145s were retired and replaced by newly ordered Embraer E190s. The type was introduced into service. on May 23, 2016, with a flight from LIS to Nice (NCE).

The final Fokker 100 to be retired was CP-TPA, which had operated the airline’s inaugural service. A special flight was operated on December 2, 2016, with a crew made up of the same crew who operated the first flight in 1990.

The airline operated a pair of ATR-42s between 2014 and 2016. Photo: Foto Beninho, GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia

Featured image: PGA Portugalia Airlines launched operations on July 7, 1990. Photo: GFDL 1.2, Wikimedia