Star Alliance carrier TAP Air Portugal has detailed plans to serve series of new routes from Portugal to Brazil, Canada and North America in 2020, operated by its new Airbus A321LRs.

The three new services will originate in Lisbon (Portugal) and will serve Maceió (Brazil), Montreal (Canada) and Boston (North America). The Boston service will operate via Ponta Delgada, on São Miguel Island, the capital of the Azores archipelago of Portugal.

“The aircraft’s smaller size and lower trip costs permits TAP to operate profitability in smaller markets that cannot be regularly served by larger widebody aircraft,” TAP said, announcing the A321LR routes.

TAP will eventually operate 14 A321LRs, configured with 168 seats.

The 3X-weekly Maceió service is TAP’s first new route to Brazil in five years and will become the Portuguese carrier’s 11th Brazilian destination.

TAP is also stepping up frequencies to Natal and Belém in Brazil from 3X- to 5X-weekly.

In 2020, TAP will operate 92 weekly frequencies to Brazil, 15 more than in 2015.

“The departure of old airplanes, flights to and from Brazil are now operated exclusively by new or modern cabin interiors,” TAP CEO Antonoaldo Neves said.

Over the last four years, TAP’s expansion been focused on North America, building up its number of destinations to match its historic strength in Brazil.

“With the inauguration of these new routes, TAP goes from three routes in 2015 to 11 North American routes, the same number as Brazil. This is another important step in the company's network diversification and expansion plan, which strengthens its exposure to new and less volatile markets,” Neves said.

From next year, TAP will serve Montreal 6X-weekly and the company will also launch Lisbon-Ponta Delgada-Boston services, stepping up links between Lisbon and Ponta Delgada from 4X- to 5X-daily.

“Ponta Delgada-Boston is one of the strategic routes that reinforce the company's growth in the North Atlantic. From 2020, Portugal will have, from Lisbon and Ponta Delgada, two direct routes to Boston, hub city of TAP partner JetBlue, which will allow the Portuguese company to carry even more passengers from various points of the US,” TAP said.

In total, TAP will operate 82 weekly frequencies in the North American market in 2020, up from just 16 weekly frequencies in 2015. Over that time passenger numbers have risen 250%.

“TAP expects to carry an additional 390,000 North Americans between Portugal and the North Atlantic next year,” TAP said. “TAP currently carries close to one million passengers from North America to Europe.”

When TAP launched A321LR commercial services in May, the Portuguese carrier said it was scheduled to receive 37 new Airbus aircraft by the end of this year, split between the A320neo, A321neo, A321LR and A330neo. This will grow to 71 new aircraft by 2025.

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@informa.com