Welcome aboard...
For more than 70 years, TAP has been a pioneer in connecting Portugal to the world and the continents to each other. We were born in a country of explorers. We grew, changed, followed the innovations in aviation, marked presence in historical moments. Embark with us on a trip to the past!
A country ready for take off
TAP is born in 1945. We’re at the end of World War II, which boosted the development of aviation. Next comes the baby-boom, the entertainment and mass consumption. Portugal still lacks a connection to the world.
1945 – An airline is born
TAP is created on 14 March 1945. More specifically the Secção de Transportes Aéreos (“Air Transport Section”), under the jurisdiction of the Civil Aviation Office. The then Director, Humberto Delgado, is the mentor of the foundation. The first aircraft arrive this year: two Dakota DC-3, military equipment adapted to civil aviation.
1945 – The first logo
This is the image that launches TAP in the world of aviation.
1946 – First stop: Madrid
The inauguration of the first commercial line, between Lisbon and the Spanish capital, is a national happening. On 19 September 1946, the Dakota DC-3, with capacity for 21 passengers, begins to operate. On the inaugural flight there were 11 passengers besides the crew.
1946 – The “Imperial Airline”
The “Imperial Airline” is inaugurated on 31 December, serving the Lisbon-Luanda-Lourenço Marques route. With 24,540 kilometres and a 15 days duration (return flight), it includes 12 stopovers between Lisbon and Lourenço Marques and becomes the most extensive route in the world operated with the Dakota DC-3. The climate conditions demand special clothing: the tropical uniform with skirts, shorts and shirts in khaki.
1947 – The second logo
In 1947, a new brand image is adopted.
1947 – The first domestic connection
The line between Lisbon and Porto is launched. Captain Durval and co-pilot Noronha are part of the crew; among the cabin crew, Sá Pinto and Marcela.
1948 – Growth brings changes
New routes for Seville and Paris are created. With the joining of IATA (International Air Transport Association) and route diversification, we adopt a new brand image and launch advertising posters that allude to the operated destinations.
1949 – London in sight
At the close of the decade, TAP offers a connection to the capital of the United Kingdom. The flight is operated by the DC-4 Skymaster.
First records and achievements beyond the sea
TAP grows and accompanies the country’s historical milestones such as the inauguration of RTP or the Lisbon Metro. But we go far beyond Portugal and Europe, launching routes in Africa and travelling to the other side of the Atlantic for the first time!
1952 – The jet age
The British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) begins the regular operation with jet aircraft, flying for about 11,000 kilometres between London and Johannesburg in less than 24 hours — shortening the trip, until now managed by propeller airplanes, for half the time. This year also marks the beginning of the production of the Boeing 707.
1953 – The third logo
TAP presents a new brand image. This logo will represent the airline until 1979.
1953 – Landing in Morocco
This is the year of the first “privatisation” process of TAP, which goes from a public service to public limited company. And two important new destinations are launched: Casablanca and Tangier.
1955 – The Lockheed arrives
The first four-engined aircraft is acquired to operate long distance flights, more specifically the line of Africa: the Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation. With four engines fixed to the wings, the Lockheed brought a substantial reduction of flight time between Lisbon and Lourenço Marques.
1955 – Crossing the Atlantic
The year of the first experimental TAP flight to Rio de Janeiro. There is a very special passenger aboard the DC-4 Skymaster of this trip to Brazil: the Admiral Gago Coutinho.
1958 – Round numbers
The decade ends with high conquests: we transported 64,000 passengers, completed 10,000 hours of flight, reached 14,000 kilometres of network and surpassed 1,000 employees.
Accelerate in the jet age
We enter the boom years for commercial aviation and supersonic speed. The United States and the Soviet Union set out to conquer space. TAP algo expands with new destinations, new aircraft and an exponential increase of passengers.
1961 – Two brother countries
The inauguration of “Voo da Amizade“ (“Flight of Friendship”) between Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro takes place. It’s a special service between Portugal and Brazil, with stopovers at Sal and Recife, made possible by an operational deal between TAP and Brazilian airlines Panair (1960-1965) and Varig (1965-67).
1961 – Towards the East
The inaugural flight of the new connection between Lisbon and Goa takes place, with a total duration of 19 hours and five intermediary stopovers. One year earlier, we said goodbye to the DC-4 Skymaster: TAP withdrew the last of these four aircraft from operation.
1962 – The Caravelle VI-R
In July 1962 we welcome the first Caravelle VI-R, which definitely transports TAP into the jet age. This same year begins the operation from Lisbon to Las Palmas (Spain) and Santa Maria (Azores, Portugal).
1963 – More Europe
TAP consolidates its presence in the Old Continent by launching more routes: Geneva, Munich and Frankfurt.
1964 – The first million
In 1964 we celebrate a symbolic milestone: the first 1 million passengers transported. The operation Lisbon-Bissau is launched. And after three years flying to Porto Santo (Madeira, Portugal), TAP inaugurates the route to Funchal — the first flight receives a warm and festive welcome!
1965 – Hello, Boeing
This is a special year for TAP. The first aircraft of the Boeing family, the B707, is added to the fleet. Two years later, it will be B727’s turn to take off with TAP colours and its unmistakable “T-Tail”.
Revolution on the ground and in the air
A decade of great changes. Portugal goes through the revolution of 25 April 1974 and the decolonisation process. TAP changes headquarters, is nationalised and enters an accelerated process of technological modernisation.
1971 – New home, new routes
The decade begins full of novelties. Boston in integrated in the New York line. The routes to Montreal, Ponta Delgada and Terceira (Azores) are launched. Jet airplanes operate the Lourenço Marques line. Also this year, TAP changes its headquarters to Lisbon Airport.
1972 – Flying higher
We enter a new era: in 1972 we welcome the first of the B747-200s, the mythical large jet that became known as “Jumbo”. Until the end of the decade, TAP will operate with 32 technologically advanced aircraft to more than 40 destinations in four continents.
1974 – New reservation system
In 1974 another step is taken towards technological transformation. We incorporate the TAPMATIC, a new computerised system of reservations, load control and check-in. From this year forward, nothing was ever the way it used to be.
1974 – Investing in maintenance
This was a fruitful and innovative decade in terms of maintenance: we were first European airline to undergo major complete overhauls of the Pratt & Whitney JT9-D reactors on the 747 Boeing aircraft.
1974 – The nationalisation
1974 ends with new records: more than 1,5 million passengers, 68,210 hours flown, a network of nearly 103,000 kilometres and more than 9,000 employees. The following year, TAP becomes a public company again, following the wave of nationalisations originated by the Carnation Revolution.
1979 – A complete makeover
TAP implements a modernisation programme . Among other measures, the name of the company changes: “Transportes Aéreos Portugueses” is now “TAP Air Portugal”, which is easier to recognise internationally. The new corporate image also reflects in the uniforms and the aircraft livery.
A decade of ups and downs
TAP fastens the seatbelt and experiences the turbulence that characterises the 1980’s: the sequels of the oil crises, the technological advances, Portugal’s adhesion to the EEC, the fall of the Berlin wall.
1980 – New directions
The decade begins with a new route: the Lisbon-Barcelona line is launched. Also this year, the line Milan-Rome is extended.
1981 – The first in-flight magazine
In 1981, a new on-board companion for TAP flights is born. The “Atlantis” magazine, predecessor of the current “UP”, will be “on the air” for 16 years.
1981 – The first female pilot
Teresa Carvalho, a name for the history books! She was the first woman ever to join TAP’s pilots board, in 1981. This photograph shows her in action in 2001.
1983 – The fleet expands
The first 737-200 Boeing start operating in medium-haul flights and the Lockheed L-1011-500 Tristar in long-haul trips.
1985 – Time to make history
TAP transports more than 2 million passengers in one year for the first time. Meanwhile, the new Porto-Caracas route is inaugurated and the TAP Museum opens doors to the public on 14 March 1985, the day of its 40th birthday (photo).
1988 – Time to evolve
At the close of the decade, a new system for calculating fares and issuing tickets is introduced. TAP becomes the first airline company to establish land-to-air connections via satellite. And Airbus makes its debut in the fleet: the A310 was the first aircraft to be integrated.
We enter the Airbus era
The end of the 20th Century is marked by great technological innovation, the advent of mobile phones and the internet. Portugal becomes a world stage with the EXPO’98. TAP enters the Airbus era and is linked once again to several remarkable moments.
1991 – Flying more and better
TAP starts flying from Porto to Barcelona and Basel. In the beginning of the decade, we hit the mark of 3 million passengers transported in only one year for the first time. On board, there is constant modernisation with the goal of serving better and better each time.
1993 – Fleet renovation
In the 1990’s we still fly with Boeing aircraft, but Airbus is already setting its supremacy. Operating since 1998 with the A310, TAP integrates the A320-200 in 1993. In the following years, the A340 and the A319 become part of the family, consolidating the fleet with more economical and versatile aircraft.
1996 – Taking off on the web
TAP’s digital presence has a history of its own, having already completed more than 20 years. The first version of our website was released in the distant year of 1996 and was a pioneering online presence in Portugal. Since then, we have been at the forefront of digital innovation.
1998 – Nobel on board
José Saramago, the portuguese writter, receives in 1998 the Literature Nobel Prize in Stockholm and travels aboard TAP. Since 2014, one of our A320s proudly holds the name “José Saramago”.
1998 – EXPO’98
TAP is a strategic partner of the EXPO’98, the event that shakes up the country in the final part of the decade. One of our airplanes (B737-300) gets a makeover in commemoration.
1999 – “Blue Flights”
The so called “Blue Flights” (non-smoking flights) are introduced in all European and Northern American lines.
On the wings of the 21st Century
The turn of the millennium brings serious challenges like the September 11 attacks, the aviation crisis and digitalization. But TAP adapts once again and consolidates its status as one of Portugal’s largest exporters.
2000 – Maintenance and engineering
TAP’s Maintenance & Engineering is wordly recognised for its quality standards. This year, our MRO unit is certified by the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil and the North-American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In 2006, TAP takes control of VEM (Varig Engenharia e Manutenção), the largest maintenance centre of South America.
2004 – Euro 2004
In the year that Portugal hosts the UEFA European Championship, TAP joins the event and honors one of the greatest names in the history of the sport: a A319 is baptised as “Eusébio”.
2005 – A fresh new look
After hitting the record number of 6,5 million passengers, it’s time for a brand refresh. “TAP Air Portugal” is now “TAP Portugal” and the new logo reflects modernity and Portuguese identity for the new century. Also this year, we join the prestigious Star Alliance network.
2005 – Victoria Programme
Our frequent flyer programme is born. Victoria offers exclusive advantages for earning miles with TAP flights. Soon after its first year, Victoria is distinguished as the best programme in the prestigious Freddie Awards.
2006 – Where do you want to fly to?
These are years of expansion. The fleet now features 40 aircraft and we offer 47 weekly direct frequencies to Brazil. Until the end of the decade, new routes will be launched: Belo Horizonte, Casablanca, Moscow, Warsaw, Valencia, Helsinki, among others. In 2008, it will become possible to fly directly from Madeira (Portugal) to Madrid.
2007 – Visiting before landing
In 2007, we welcome a new in-flight magazine: UP! Passionate about national treasures and figures, its articles focus on the best that Portugal has to offer and take us to unbelievable places around the world before landing.
2008 – Closer to our passengers
TAP is in line with digital trends. A new tele check-in counter becomes available, as well as on-board reading. The online check-in is extended to flights departing from Brazil, Bissau, Johannesburg, Maputo and São Tomé. Ticket issuing is now 100% in electronic format. In 2009, the TAP Mobile portal is launched with useful flight information for mobile phones.
2009 – The environment first
We integrate six new Airbus A320-214, an aircraft that allows an average 8% increase in energetic and environmental efficiency. We become the first airline in the world to join the Carbon Offset Program, for which we are awarded UNESCO’s “Planet Earth Award”.
2009 – New exclusive services
We launch the Premium Boarding, an exclusive boarding service for tap|executive passengers, Victoria Gold Clients, TAP Corporate Clients and STAR Gold cardholders. Also available now at the airport is the TAP Personalised Assistance, for passengers who value a dedicated accompaniment.
Flying high in the digital age
In the decade of 2010, the keywords are transformation and innovation. Non-stop. TAP receives several awards for client service both in the skies and the digital world. This story continues to be written today, knowing that many challenges and more conquests are to come.
2010 – Always there
TAP is associated with important moments of our collective memory. In May 2017, we transport Pope Benedict XVI on the A320-200 “Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro”, on the occasion of his visit to Portugal. In June, it’s the national football team’s turn to travel with us to South Africa for the World Cup. The new facilities of the TAP Museum open to the public, as a result of the partnership between TAP, ANA Airports and the Portuguese Air Force. In 2014, we bring a support message to the Portuguese football team at Brazil’s World Cup, along with the sailor Ricardo Diniz.
2010 – In all fronts
In 2010, TAP becomes the first Portuguese company in the tourism industry to have a YouTube channel. Our presence on social media is distinguished by Socialbakers. In 2013, the Contact Center becomes available via Skype. In 2015, Sofia, the virtual assistant, provides service client on FlyTAP. The smartphone app offers a digital kiosk for on-board reading. And there’s a new automatic notification system for baggage irregularities.
2011 – With arms wide open
On the first half of the decade, TAP launches dozens of routes in Europe (Düsseldorf, Bordeaux, Vienna, Manchester, Dubrovnik,Turin, Berlin, Bucharest, Belgrade, Nantes, Oviedo, Saint Petersburg, Gothenburg, Hannover, Tallinn, Pico), in the American continent (Miami, Campinas, Porto Alegre, Manaus, Belem, Bogota and Panama) and Africa (Algiers, Marrakech, Tangier, Sao Vicente, Accra, Boa Vista). The brand signature is now “With arms wide open”.
2015 – Celebrating 70 years
2015 is an eventful year and the commemoration of our 70th birthday translates into multiple initiatives. A special edition of RTP’s Telejornal is broadcasted live from the hangar. An exhibition at MUDE — Museu do Design e da Moda (design and fashion). The TAP Creative Launch contest, a hub of ideas for the future of aviation. The Victoria Programmes celebrates as well: 10 years and 2 million loyal customers!
2015 – Privatisation and modernisation
With the privatisation of TAP approved by the Council of Ministers. TAP is a pioneer in the use sharklet technology and signs a deal with Airbus to become the first to fly with the new A330neo aircraft.
2016 – Discover Portugal on the way
TAP launches Portugal Stopover, a programme that offers to passengers travelling long-haul flights a stay of several days in Portugal before reaching the final destination. In the first year, it brought 70,000 new tourists to the country and was elected the best Stopover programme in the world by the American Condé Nast Traveller!
2016 – Strategic partnerships
This year we celebrate the first bilateral deal with other airline companies. Azul Linhas Aéreas (2015) was followed by JetBlue in 2016 and Beijing Capital in 2017. Our passengers now have more advantages when travelling in code-share to the American and Asian continents.
2016 – More efficiency and options
The TAP Express brand is born to replace PGA - Portugália. The fleet is composed of Embraer 190 and ATR72-600 aircraft and allows for an increase in the levels of comfort and efficiency. Also this year, the “Ponte Aérea” between Porto and Lisbon takes off and we release a new system of fares that offers more options to our passengers.
2017 – A little bit of time travelling
It’s now time for the the first retro flights in the TAP’s history. We transport our passengers back to the iconic decade of 1970 with a complete experience: from aircraft livery — the same as the “Jumbo” B747of 1972 — to crew uniforms, the menu, the music and even movies such as “Annie Hall” and “Star Wars”. It’s good to remember the old days!
2017 – What a year!
In 2017, we launched 14 new routes, surpassed the 14 million passengers transported (a record number in 72 years) and received dozens of awards.The rebranding comes in August: “TAP Portugal” is now, once again, “TAP Air Portugal”.
2018 - The growth route
More planes, more routes, more people. We ended 2018 with eight new NEO planes in our fleet - the first of dozens - and with eight new routes announced for 2019. 2018 also ended with over 1,000 new employees joining the company in a single year.
2018 - The year of the A330neo
TAP was the first airline in the world to receive the new Airbus A330neo. D.João II, 'O Príncipe Perfeito', the jetliner made its first commercial flight on December 15, from Lisbon to São Paulo. By the end of 2018, TAP had three A330neo planes in its fleet.