TORONTO — TAP Portugal is anticipating a strong performance for its return to the Canadian market, with new five times weekly Toronto-Lisbon flights starting June 10.
It’s been years since TAP flew out of Toronto and the carrier had Montreal flights at one time too. Through the 1970s, 80s and 90s TAP did good business out of Toronto and Montreal to Lisbon on 707s and 747s, at that time serving a sizeable VFR market without much onward traffic. Why did TAP Portugal pull the Canadian flights all those years ago? For the same reason any airline shuts down routes: they stopped being profitable.
Now TAP is back and Carlos Paneiro, VP Sales North & Central America says he looks forward to rounding out TAP’s network on this side of the Atlantic with Toronto, the carrier’s fifth gateway in North America and (so far) its only Canadian gateway.
The Toronto service will run Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with flights arriving in Toronto at 10 p.m. and departing for Lisbon at 11:55 p.m. TAP is using A330s for the route, and the planes have been retrofitted with upgrades, says Paneiro. There are 244 economy class seats (with a minimum 31” pitch) and 25 lie-flat business class seats.
Part of the reason TAP pulled its Canadian flights back in the 1990s was because the airline didn’t have a network for onward travel. Now Paneiro says he anticipates that about 60 to 70% of passengers onboard the Toronto flights will be outbound Canadian passengers, and of those about 50% will take advantage of TAP’s network to fly beyond Lisbon to Europe (where TAP has 52 gateways) and Africa (15). TAP also has a growing presence in Brazil, with 10 gateways.
The airline’s ‘TAP Portugal Stopover’ program should also generate interest with Canadian passengers, he adds, offering 24, 48 or 72-hour stopovers in Lisbon at no extra cost. Launched last summer in the North American market, it’s been a popular proposition for the U.S. market, with about 40,000 U.S. travellers spending some extra time in Lisbon before heading onto other TAP network destinations. TAP is part of the Star Alliance as well.
TAP’s new District Sales Manager for the Canadian market, Liliana Vieira, is already on the road meeting with agents. Vierira has 20-plus years of experience in the travel industry here, mostly with airlines.
More information is at flytap.com.