TAP Air Portugal CEO: We're creating a new travel hub for Israel

TAP Air Portugal will provide daily flights from Tel Aviv to Lisbon.

By ZACK EVANS
April 2, 2019 21:45
2 minute read.
Antonoaldo Neves, TAP Air Portugal Chief Executive Officer, delivers a speech.

Antonoaldo Neves, TAP Air Portugal Chief Executive Officer, delivers a speech during the delivery of the first A330neo commercial passenger aircraft for TAP Air Portugal airline at the Airbus delivery center in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, November 26, 2018.. (photo credit: REGIS DUVIGNAU/REUTERS)

 
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The inauguration of daily flights between Lisbon and Tel Aviv will create a new travel hub for Israel, according to TAP Air Portugal CEO Antonoaldo Neves.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post in Tel Aviv following the arrival of the carrier’s first flight to Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday evening,

Neves said the route will not only serve those seeking to travel between Portugal and Israel, but also “provides a great platform for clients wishing to connect to North America, South America and to Africa.”

Travelers will be able to connect to 40 destinations through Lisbon – including 10 cities in Brazil – and also take advantage of the airline’s “Portugal Stopover” program, which allows customers to remain in Portugal for five extra days between connections at no extra cost and to enjoy discounts on a range of services, including hotels and restaurants.

“We believe there is potential to go to double daily flights in the future, as long as we have the aircrafts, because we believe in the market,” Neves said. “There are 10 million passengers traveling to and from Israel per year, and we just need a little fraction of that.”
TAP’s daily flight leaves Lisbon at 2:20 p.m. and arrives in Tel Aviv at 9:30. From Tel Aviv, flights depart at 5:05 a.m., arriving in Lisbon at 9:00.

As the carrier anticipates the arrival of 37 new aircrafts by the end of the year, and 71 new planes by 2025, it has recently announced the major expansion of its services. New routes from San Francisco, Washington, DC and Chicago will start in June. Additional routes serving Naples, Tenerife, Dublin, Basel and Conakry will also commence later this year.


“We can tell our customers here in Israel that we have very competitive prices, so take a look at us, call your agent or go on our website, and you’ll see that TAP is a very competitive airline and we have a great product,” Neves said. “We don’t charge to have food on board, we give a lot of legroom and we are renewing our new fleet. At the year end, we will have the newest fleet in the world for long-haul, so we provide good service at a very low cost.”

More than 4.1 million tourists visited Israel in 2018, an increase of 14% from 2017 and a record-breaking number for incoming tourism. The country also witnessed a record year of Israelis traveling abroad.

Over four million Israelis traveled out of the country last year some 8.5 million times in total, an increase of 12% since 2017, with the vast majority of trips (7.8 million) by airplane. Of those journeys, 27% (2.3 million) were in July and August.

“The launch of flights between Lisbon and Tel Aviv is about more than the Portuguese and Israelis, it’s about the Americas and Africa connecting to Israel and vice versa,” said Neves.

A member of the global airline Star Alliance since 2005, TAP carried a record 15.8 million passengers last year, registering a growth of more than 10% since 2017.

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