World Travel Awards TAP + UP – World leaders
nce again, TAP came out top at the World Travel Awards (WTA), the “Oscars” of world tourism, which took place in Muscat, Oman, on 28th November. Portugal’s airline was called on stage three times, where it was awarded the World’s Leading Airline to Africa and South America, and the World’s Leading In-flight Magazine.
The WTA World Leader awards given to TAP are recognition of a major transformation and renewal that the company has invested in, with the arrival of new planes, the start of new routes and improved travel experiences for customers. Proud to be Portugal’s largest ambassador, TAP celebrated both its own and the country’s successes. This year’s edition of the WTA saw Portugal win 13 awards, including Best Tourist Destination in the World for the third consecutive year.
The trophies TAP picked up this year have been added to the prizes won in previous editions. The WTA voted TAP Europe’s Leading Airline to Africa and South America in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. It was also considered the World’s Leading Airline to Africa in 2011, 2012 and 2018, and the World’s Leading Airline to South America in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2018. In the same vein, UP magazine had already been voted Leading In-flight Magazine in Europe in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and World Leading In-flight Magazine in 2018.
The WTA began in 1993 to recognise, reward and celebrate excellence in all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry. TAP was nominated among some of the most respected airlines and chosen via an online voting process, involving primarily tourism and travel professionals, such as travel agents, operators and tourism organisations, from over 100, and the public.
New year, new routes
In 2020, TAP will continue to invest in the Americas and expand its transatlantic destinations with three new routes: Maceió, in Brazil, and Montreal, in Canada, both from Lisbon, and Ponta Delgada, Azores – Boston, USA, using the new Airbus A321 Long Range.
The first new route announced to Brazil in five years, Maceió will be TAP’s 11th destination in the country. With the protocol already signed between TAP and the State of Alagoas on 18th November, Maceió will have three weekly flights. Lisbon departures will be at 5:15 pm, arriving at 9:15 pm, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
With flights to Montreal, Canada’s second largest city, North America now has the same number of flights as Brazil. TAP will have six weekly flights between Lisbon and Montreal, which leave the Portuguese capital at 2:55 p.m. every day of the week, except Wednesdays, and arrive in the Canadian city at 5:40 p.m.
Ponta Delgada to Boston is also one of the strategic routes that consolidates TAP’s growth in the North Atlantic. From this year onwards, Portugal will have two direct routes to Boston (leaving Lisbon and Ponta Delgada), hub city of TAP’s partner JetBlue, which will allow the Portuguese airline to transport even more passengers from different parts of the USA. “This is a historic moment for TAP. With these new routes, the three routes to North America of 2015 have increased to 11, the same number as Brazil. This is another important part of TAP’s plan to diversify and expand its network, consolidating exposure to new and less volatile markets”, said TAP’s CEO, Antonoaldo Neves. In relation to the Airbus A321LR aircraft, Antonoaldo Neves highlights that “these aircraft are real game changers. Travelling between Brazil and Europe is now more modern, efficient and environmentally friendly. After bidding farewell to the old planes, flights to and from Brazil are now only on new planes or with modern cabin interiors, providing our passengers with high levels of comfort”.
Pioneer in innovation
TAP joined forces with Recaro – seat supplier that equips the airline’s entire fleet – for a innovation project pilot. Alongside the manufacturer, TAP is testing the economy class BL3530 chairs with iSeat technology on one of its Airbus A321s. These chairs are equipped with different sensors, which collect performance information during the flight and then adapt the technology to passenger needs, improving their comfort during the flight. These sensors record if the seat is occupied, how often passengers use the table and armrests, and whether belts are fastened.
According to Recaro, this type of seat “is a real game changer and provides priceless data that will make air travel even safer and improve passengers’ travel experience”. In line with TAP’s philosophy, which has invested in connectivity and digitalisation, Recaro aims to use this data to develop innovative products that revolutionise the future of aviation. According to Nuno Leal, who is responsible for fleet planning, “TAP’s very excited to be a partner in this pioneering research into passenger comfort during flights. Improving products available to our customers has been one of the cornerstones of the airline’s recent transformation”. The future is undoubtedly TAP.
Tribute to the greats of Portugal
With the regular arrival of new planes at TAP, there have been many baptisms and tributes to key Portuguese figures. On World Television Day, 21st November, TAP celebrated actor Raul Solnado by naming the Airbus A321neo after him (CS-TJM). This event was open to the actor’s family and friends, the media and all Grupo TAP employees, in hangar 6 on the TAP campus, where TAP also paid tribute to the writer Jorge de Sena in November, lending his name to Airbus A321LR (CS-TXB). In the month that marked the centenary of his birth, Jorge de Sena’s name can be found on one of TAP’s most recent planes. “This is a tribute to Portuguese culture, and literature in particular. I’m very touched to be part of this very symbolic moment”, said Isabel de Sena, daughter of the writer, who was invited to christen the plane. “My father used to travel a lot and now he’ll continue to do so, all over the world.”
TAP also paid homage to the first Portuguese to arrive in India, well before Vasco da Gama. The new Airbus A321LR (CS-TXC) was named Pêro da Covilhã, the first European to explore the Indian and East African coasts, at King João II’s behest. Going back to the 14th and 15th centuries, TAP decided to baptise its Airbus A330neo (CS-TUM) with one of the most important Portuguese names in military art, religion and popular culture: D. Nuno Álvares Pereira. On the day of the liturgical feast of the Saint Constable, 6th November, TAP added his name to the most important in Portugal’s history already found in the company’s fleet, such as King Afonso Henriques, King Dinis, Queen Maria II and Marquis of Pombal.
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