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TAP Portugal eyes A321XLR as it launches 3 US routes in 3 weeks
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TAP Portugal eyes A321XLR as it launches 3 US routes in 3 weeks

TAP Air Portugal, which is on an expansion drive, will eventually become a customer of the newly launched Airbus A321XLR, co-owner David Neeleman says.

The extra-long range version of the Airbus family of narrowbodies was launched at the Paris Air Show June 17 and by the end of the week had accumulated 260 orders, commitments and order conversions. Customers varied from lessor Air Lease Corp. to British Airways parent International Airlines Group, American Airlines, Philippine LCC Cebu Pacific, ultra-LCC specialist Indigo Partners, New York-based JetBlue Airways and Australia’s Qantas.

The same week as the air show, Neeleman was at an event in Washington DC to mark the launch of TAP’s Lisbon-Washington Dulles direct service.

“We will order it,” he told reporters when asked about the XLR. TAP has two A321LRs with 12 more ordered and Neeleman said some might be converted to the XLR. He said the XLR would be a good aircraft for routes such as Lisbon-Chicago and could reach as far as Sao Paulo, but the earliest it would be available is 2023.

TAP has launched three US nonstop city destinations from Lisbon this summer, with the 5X-weekly Washington service as well as 5X-weekly services to San Francisco International and to Chicago O’Hare. The Airbus A330-900neo, for which TAP was the launch customer, is operated on all the new routes and has been introduced on TAP’s Lisbon-New York JFK route. The airline also flies to Boston and Miami.

TAP says the number of passengers it has carried in the North Atlantic market grew by 176.5% between 2015 and 2018, accompanied by an almost fourfold increase in the number of available seats over the same time since 2015, when TAP’s only US destinations were New York Newark and Miami.

The airline will launch flights to another five non-US destinations this summer: to Conakry and Banjul from Lisbon, and to Brussels, Lyon and Munich from Porto. With these new routes, the TAP network will grow to 91 cities in 37 countries…

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