FILE PHOTO: An Airbus of TAP Air Portugal Airlines is pictured in Colomiers near Toulouse. Picture: Reuters
FILE PHOTO: An Airbus of TAP Air Portugal Airlines is pictured in Colomiers near Toulouse. Picture: Reuters

TAP Portugal announces non-stop flight linking Lisbon, Cape Town

By Travel reporter Time of article published Apr 22, 2020

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TAP Air Portugal will start operating direct seasonal flights from Lisbon to Cape Town from November, 2020.

The flights will operate three days a week and is scheduled to commence on November 11, 2020 and run until the end of March 2021.

The first flight from Cape Town International Airport will depart on Thursday, November 12, and the service will operate on an Airbus 330-900NEO, with a total passenger capacity of 298 seats - 34 in Business Class, 96 in Economy Extra, and 168 in Economy Class.

“These past few weeks have been surreal. We’ve watched the world close down in an attempt limit the spread of this devastating virus to which sadly, none of us are immune," said Deon Cloete, general manager of Cape Town International Airport.

"The announcement by TAP Airlines could not have come at a better time. It’s instilled some much needed hope into the aviation industry. Their commitment is a clear demonstration of confidence in our destination and travel. As the team at Cape Town International Airport, we will be sure to be ready for their inaugural flight later this year and we look forward to welcoming them to the city."

Lisbon, which serves as the airline’s operational hub, has seen a notable growth in passenger traffic to South Africa with a 25% in 2018 and 7% in 2019. 

Business Class passenger traffic grew 86% in 2019. Porto, another popular destination, saw a 65% increase in two-way passenger growth in 2018 with a 15% increase noted in 2019.

TAP also offers onward connectivity to Southern Europe, North Africa and South America – all regions currently unserved from Cape Town.

 Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management within the City of Cape Town, added: “Despite the current challenging times we face, I am excited to confirm a new direct flight between Cape Town and Lisbon, Portugal. 

"Connectivity forms part of our strategy to connect Cape Town with key destinations in Africa and globally to stimulate and increase travel and trade, for the benefit of our residents. To increase connectivity and bring economic benefits to Cape Town, the City funds the Air Access initiative within Wesgro. While the tourism sector has been hit very hard due to the lockdown measures in South Africa and globally, there is light at the end of the tunnel."

Wesgro chief executive Tim Harris welcomed the announcement, saying it brought with it a message of hope to airlines globally that people would travel again soon.

"The significant increase noted in Business Class travel builds a strong business proposition for Cape Town and the Western Cape, and we look forward to strengthening our trade and investment ties with Portugal, facilitated through the direct air access,” he said.

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