TAP also has acquired five new A330s for delivery in 2007 and 2008. Pinto says these will be used to replace TAP’s five A310s but additional A330s could still be acquired.
The entire A330/A340 fleet will eventually be replaced by A350 XWBs, with A350-800s replacing A330s and larger A350-900s replacing A340s. Pinto expects to sign a formal contract later this year with Airbus for 12 firm A350 XWBs, plus three options “which in principal will be firmed pretty quickly”.
Pinto is now negotiating to acquire three second-hand Airbus A330s, which will be delivered between June and December this year and expand TAP’s widebody fleet to 15 aircraft. The A330s may be used to launch flights to the Brazilian capital Brasilia, which would be TAP’s seventh destination in Brazil.
TAP also is committed to acquiring four additional A320s over the next three years, which will expand its narrowbody fleet to about 40 aircraft. Pinto plans to keep Portugalia’s fleet of six Fokker 100s and eight Embraer ERJ-145s for at least two years, after which TAP will consider Fokker replacements.
Quite ambitious plans for TAP IMO. I wouldn´t be too surprised to have Lufthansa/TAP open up several additional routes to Germany and to increase frequency on FRA/MUC-LIS to have LIS become the South America gateway for Star Alliance from Europe. All in all good news for Airbus it seems.