Portuguese flag carrier TAP Air Portugal has taken delivery of its first ever Airbus A321LR marking the start of a new era for its narrow-body fleet – with long haul travel.
The new delivery is part of an order for 12 and will help the airline develop its long haul network, taking advantage of the aircraft’s ‘Long Range’ capabilities. The aircraft is fitted with 171 seats comprising 16 full flat Business class seats in a mixed 2-2 and 1-1 layout, 48 Eco Premium seats and 107 Economy seats.
The carrier will operate the plane on routes such as from Lisbon to Washington Dulles which is said it would launch this summer according to its schedule.
The new delivery follows the arrival of TAP Air Portugal’s first Airbus A330Neo which is currently in service and flying from Lisbon on the Portuguese airline’s long haul network. The Airbus A321LR will not only compliment the Airbus A330Neo but will also allow the airline to fly new, less popular routes with a cheaper running cost and, hopefully, positive numbers.
Antonoaldo Neves, CEO of TAP Air Portugal said, “The A321LR is critical for TAP’s expansion plans. With its superior range we can comfortably explore markets in North America, South America and Africa from Portugal, and it’ll fit in seamlessly with our A330neos.”
He continued, “In North America it allows us to explore markets on the East Coast, such as New York, Boston, Montreal or Washington. In Brazil the A321LR can open new markets in the Northeast and complement existing services to cities like Recife, Natal, Fortaleza or Salvador.”
Finally Neves explained, “The aircraft are equipped with the latest-generation full flat business class and high comfort economy seats, a full suite of in-flight entertainment (IFE) and connectivity, as well as free messaging services”.
The inaugural Airbus A321LR service with TAP Air Portugal will be on the Tel Aviv route from Lisbon.
“We applaud TAP Air Portugal for becoming the first airline to leverage the benefits of the A321LR and the A330neo in a common fleet. The A321LR and A330neo working in tandem have the middle market segment nicely covered. The ‘Airbus NEO Midsize Aircraft’ - let's call them the ‘A-NMA's,’ are a winning, seamless combination - unprecedented capacity and transatlantic range with single aisle cost with the A321LR, and unbeatable unit costs and flexibility for true long haul with the A330neo. Both with the most contemporary technology and cabin comfort in their class,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer.
TAP Air Portugal is the flag carrier of the European country of Portugal and has an outstanding history dating back to more than 50 years ago. The airline's hub is at Lisbon Portela International Airport but has a secondary base in Porto, the second biggest Portuguese city. The airline's focus city is Madeira, a popular leisure destination.