TAP Air Portugal is under massive renovation and rejuvenation, bringing in new aircraft at a steady pace and is undergoing a refresh of it’s domestic and long-haul fleet with JetBlue founder David Neeleman at the helm. TAP has 19 Airbus A330-900neos on order, featuring Airbus’ Airspace interior, and plenty other aircraft in the order books.
The airline is expected to have a modern fleet aimed at connecting passengers from the U.S. and Brazil to Portugal and European points beyond with roughly half of TAP’s traffic connecting onwards from Lisbon. AirlineGeeks was previously invited to tour the TAP A330 neo aircraft and found it to offer a comfortable experience in business class with modern Recaro lie-flat seats, as well as in economy.
AirlineGeeks recently spoke with Trey Urbahn, TAP’s chief strategy officer, at an event in New York City showcasing the best culinary creations that Portugal has to offer, to discuss the airline’s new discussing future route plans, fleet renewals and more. One thing that particularly stuck out was the introduction of the Airbus A321LR aircraft to the TAP fleet next year, of which the airline has 14 on order.
While some airlines, especially low-cost airlines, already or plan to use A321LRs for their transatlantic routes, TAP is moving forward with a configuration not yet seen with current transatlantic A321s. The aircraft will feature fully lie-flat seats in business class in a 16-seat configuration. A configuration actually identical to the Mint class configuration of JetBlue’s A321s, which AirlineGeeks experienced in April on its inaugural flight from Seattle to New York.
Urbahn was able to confirm that the TAP A321neos will have a very similar seat as well, hinting that the seats will also be modified Thompson Aero Vantage business class seats. In a 16-seat configuration, TAP will likely offer two types of seats, paired couple seats and singular throne seats. The paired rows feature the standard 2-2 configuration while the throne rows feature a 1-1 configuration. Throne seats offer direct aisle access, are ideal for solo travelers and offer maximum privacy, especially on JetBlue since there is a door to make the seat into an enclosed suite.
This leads us to conclude that TAP will offer one of the best narrowbody business class products across the Atlantic, given the resounding success of the JetBlue Mint seat and it’s standing as arguably the best business class seat flying domestically in the U.S. and to destinations in the Caribbean. AirlineGeeks tried out TAP’s business class last year from Lisbon to Miami when the airline debuted its retro-livery Airbus A330.
The A321neos are expected to start arriving next year and allow the airline to operate year-round service to locations where capacity is adjusted based on demand.
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