Star Alliance carrier TAP Air Portugal is suspending flights to London City Airport, blaming weaker-than-expected demand on the UK’s departure from the European Union (Brexit), as part of a wide-ranging network shakeup planned for 2020.

TAP said Brexit has triggered demand uncertainty, leading to lower than expected results from London City. Capacity from Lisbon and Porto to the other London airports will be increased at peak times, partly compensating for the route cut.

The London City suspension from Lisbon and Porto was announced as part of a wider update on TAP’s 2020 capacity plans.

Under that network rationalization, TAP is also dropping Lisbon-originating flights to Basel, Cologne and Strasburg. Flights from Porto to Barcelona and Lyon, where competition is strong, will also be discontinued.

However, the Portuguese carrier is adding a new route from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, as well as high-frequency “air bridge” commuter links from both Lisbon and Porto to Madrid. TAP already operates Porto-Madrid 3X-daily, but this will be doubled to 6X-daily and shifted to its commuter product.

From Lisbon, TAP is increasing frequencies to the Spanish cities of Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia, Malaga and Seville, as well as adding extra services to Casablanca in Morocco and Tel Aviv in Israel. Porto will gain extra frequencies to Funchal, Lisbon, New York Newark and Sao Paulo.

The year 2020 will also see TAP embark on a further US growth push, adding frequencies to Chicago, Miami, New York Newark, New York JFK and Washington DC.

Finally, Airbus A321neo-frequencies to Belem and Natal in northeast Brazil will also be increased.

TAP has been in rapid growth mode over the past two years, with 12% additional capacity in 2018, followed by a further 9.3% this year.

In 2020, TAP said the focus will shift to consolidation, focusing growth on its best-performing routes. As part of that consolidation, TAP will deploy A321LRs and A330neos on several routes.

TAP’s network spans 90 destinations in 36 countries, served by a fleet of 100 aircraft.

Victoria Moores