TAP Air Portugal is currently the leading carrier on the route between Brazil and Europe, with a 28% share in the first half of 2022.
The Portuguese airline transported more than 640,000 people between January and June, an increase of 526% compared to the same period in 2021.
The figures are not surprising as TAP flies from Portugal to 11 destinations in Brazil. There are 76 weekly flights operated by A321neo, A330-200 and A330neo aircraft departing from Lisbon and Porto.
“Brazil is a key market for TAP and as the main international airline connecting Europe to Brazil, we have responded to growing customer demand with a significant increase in flights in the last six months,” explained Ricardo Dinis, TAP sales manager.
“Portugal’s popularity as a gateway to Brazil continues to grow and our 86% capacity levels compared to pre-pandemic flights indicate that TAP is expanding its market share.”
Bad infrastructure, high complaints
The positive scenario, however, ends when passengers arrive at Portuguese airports for connections.
Porto and Lisbon lack an infrastructure more suited to the role of international hub. The airport in the Portuguese capital, for example, is quite precarious, with only one runway and a terminal that is short of demand.
The result is that most flights end up boarding and disembarking at positions without boarding bridges. The saturation of Humberto Delgado Airport is an old problem, but a solution is not yet clear. The government plans to build a new airport, but the location is uncertain.
The growth in TAP’s demand is also followed by a significant increase in passenger dissatisfaction. According to an online consumer complaints database in Brazil, the Portuguese airline had 4,377 reports of problems in the last 12 months, nearly eight times as many as American Airlines, the second foreign carrier in demand.