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TAP Portugal signed a firm order with Airbus for 53 twin aisle and single aisle aircraft including 14 A330-900neo, and 39 A320neo Family aircraft (15 A320neos and 24 A321neos). The aircraft will join TAP Portugal’s fleet as part of its fleet renewal announced by the airline’s new majority owner Atlantic Gateway. As part of the agreement, TAP Portugal is replacing its previous order of 12 A350-900s with the A330-900neo.

A330-900neo_TAP_“Our latest order for 14 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft and 39 A320neo Family aircraft reflects our ongoing commitment to provide our customers with the next generation of fuel efficient aircraft,” said Fernando Pinto, TAP Portugal CEO. “The A330neo, like the A320neo Family, will give us the flexibility to enter new markets and improve the frequency of existing ones due to its combination of high reliability, low operating costs and exceptional comfort,” he added.

“With this order for 53 brand new aircraft TAP is reborn. This order today shows Airbus’ confidence in TAP’s future and TAP’s commitment to having the best products for its customers.  These aircraft are the right aircraft for TAP’s current missions and growth markets.  Furthermore, Airbus is proud of the strength and depth of its relationship with TAP and TAP’s new shareholders. The A330neo Family is the world’s most cost-efficient, medium-range Widebody and the A320neo Family is simply the single aisle aircraft of choice,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers. “The combination of the A330neo and A320neo Families in TAP Portugal’s fleet will allow the airline to reap the benefits of Airbus’ unique aircraft commonality, offering unrivaled efficiency, with the most modern, fuel efficient and streamlined fleet.”

TAP Portugal is an all Airbus customer, currently operating 43 A320 Family aircraft and 18 widebody aircraft.

On the face of it, this looks like a big order from TAP.  But Airbus losing a dozen A350-900 orders and winning 14 A330neos.  The A320neo family order sees 43 older models replaced by 39 neos.  On the single aisle, Airbus has a close to swap and this is clearly a win.

On the twin aisle, we think this is a noticeable switch.  Bear in mind that co-owner of TAP is Azul which ordered the A350-900.  If its good enough for the Brazilians, why not for the Portuguese?  Not that the A330neo is a poor selection – it is likely to be a fine performer. But the A350-900 is real next generation whereas the A330neo is a half step.   Is the A350-900 too much technology? Too expensive?  There is likely more to this story.

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