By Hemal Gosai
TAP Air Portugal Outlines Return to North American Skies
The COVID-19 pandemic has instilled a lot of uncertainty these days when it comes to resumption of air travel. Airlines are drastically cutting back fleets and retiring aircraft every day. Long haul flying is going to look very different as it starts to return.
However, one carrier is trying to retain some air of normalcy in their plans for long haul travel. TAP Air Portugal this past week announced that it will be returning to all North American gateways by October of this year.
This means service between Lisbon and the following cities:
New York (JFK airport) – a third daily flight is expected to be added in October
Newark (EWR) – a second daily flight is expected to be added in September
Chicago (ORD)- will operate twice weekly
San Francisco (SFO)- will operate twice weekly
Washington DC (IAD)
Montreal becomes the latest North American destination TAP operates to, launched at the end of July as part of an expansion into Canada. The flights will operate three times weekly on Airbus A321LR aircraft and are part of the carrier’s expansion into Canada. Its prime time for travel between the two countries as the European Union recently included Canada on the list of nations approved for travel to the EU.
The airline also plans soon offer nonstop service between Toronto and Ponta Delgada in The Azores.
In order to instill confidence among travels the airline and the national tourism agency are taking a two-pronged approach.
The first is by the airline which is offering a “Book with Confidence” program for all new bookings made through August, for travel through October. This allows customers to make a change at no cost up to 21 days in advance, though fare differences still apply.
The second is that travelers to Portugal can purchase travel insurance which specifically would provide coverage for various COVID-19 related expenses along with many offerings similar to travel insurance which include expenses due to cancellation, interruption, or extension of travel due to the pandemic.
Tourists will also have access to COVID-19 testing and fixed pricing schemes for other medical necessities across the country, all sponsored by the national tourism agency.
It’s good to see some sort of outline for flights from the U.S. to somewhere else. The current exclusion of U.S. travelers from many regions of the world has put a hamper on plans like this for most airlines. Hopefully there within the next few months travel between the U.S. and Europe will be allowed.