With 75 years behind it and a bedrock of solid foundations, TAP is currently carving out a successful present while looking to the future with increasing confidence. Taking up the baton from Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral, who completed the first aerial crossing of the South Atlantic in 1922, TAP was created in the image of its founder, Humberto Delgado, assimilating his vision, boldness and dynamism.
Taking its first steps on European routes, its past was marked by a pioneering spirit that included flights to Africa, like the journey between Lisbon and Mozambique, which lasted an impressive 15 days with 12 stopovers, and was considered a major achievement at the time. It was against this background that the first generation of pilots earned their wings, imbuing TAP’s genetic code with a culture of quality and rigour.
In compliance with national guidelines, TAP entered the jet age in 1962, expanding its European network and increasing the number of flights to Africa. During this decade of enormous growth, our maintenance and engineering departments gained an enviable reputation in the industry that continues to this day. TAP also invested heavily in its product, focussing on the quality of customer service and care.
Since the new millennium, the market has changed, creating new and more ambitious challenges. With the Portuguese State as sole shareholder since 1975, the decision to hire a professional team at the turn of the century proved providential, signalling the start of recovery and improvement. Portugal’s geographical location now became an advantage, with the creation of a Lisbon hub that linked Europe and Brazil and exanded the African routes. The success of this strategy brought TAP greater prestige and an invitation to join the Star Alliance.
That said, new challenges, including new competitors, saw the need to strengthen TAP’s financial capacity, making it more competitive and sustainable. Reprivatisation was back on the table and eventually concluded in 2015.
Encouraged by its new shareholders, TAP’s present began with a new impetus:
– the fleet saw the arrival of 30 new generation aircraft, now with a total of 105 planes; – the new aircraft provide annual savings of 150,000 tons of CO2, demonstrating our urgent commitment to improving the planet’s environmental quality;
– we’ve improved the connectivity of our operations with more destinations and flights in all directions and market segments, such as the North Atlantic, with Canada joining the USA, where activity has seen an increase from two to 11 routes. At the same time, Brazil now has ten more weekly flights;
– there has also been significant investment in the domestic market, where flights between Lisbon, Porto, the Azores and Faro have doubled, as well as a 30% increase in flights between the mainland and Madeira;
– as a result of this investment, our declining domestic performance has been reversed, regaining prominence at Lisbon airport and consolidating our position at Porto airport;
– since 2015, the number of passengers has increased 60%, with our passenger surveys indicating a two-fold improvement in customer satisfaction;
– the implementation of this ambitious change management has led to 1,800 more jobs, additions to a team whose quality and dedication I never tire of praising.
If TAP wins, Portugal wins. In fact, today more than ever, we’re the country’s most important company, due to an increase in international market revenue, which is reflected in millions of tourists arriving and the promotion of national products and brands. With tourism currently generating 15 billion euros, TAP is proud of its contribution, reaffirming its commitment to boosting Portugal’s standing in the world.
TAP’s initial success in the international capital market also demonstrates the community’s confidence in the company’s future. The prospects of a new cycle of stability are also more solid after attracting new international investors.
With 75 years of history, TAP has been rejuvenated by confidently building its future today, aware that its success depends on this project, something that is achieved through leadership, teamwork, professionalism and strong community ties.
On this our 75th birthday, I would like to pay tribute to our passengers, and promise them, on behalf of all TAP and our entire team, that we will continue to provide them with a product that meets their highest expectations.
by Antonoaldo Neves, CEO, TAP Air Portugal
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