TAP Portugal has completed refurbishing the interior of the first of seven Airbus A330-200s whose passenger cabins it has chosen to upgrade and has returned the aircraft to service.
The refurbishment of the interior of the A330-200, a 2007-built A330-202 registered CS-TOL and named 'João Gonçalves Zarco' by the airline, was performed by 48 TAP Portugal maintenance technicians over a period of 7,500 work-hours in the TAP hangar at Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport.
TAP Portugal began its program to refurbish the interiors of the seven A330-200s earlier this year and the program will continue throughout 2017, with the last refurbished aircraft due to re-enter service by the end of the year.
Refurbishment of the seven aircraft will cost TAP Portugal €70 million ($74.2 million) and the work is being performed at TAP Portugal's maintenance and engineering facilities.
In performing the A330-200 refurbshments, TAP Portugal has chosen to contract Portuguese companies to provide elements of the interior materials and finishing work required.
TAP Portugal contracted Portuguese company Almadesign to select the materials for the A330s' new interiors and perform the finishing-development work.
Portuguese company Couro Azul is supplying the leather used in some of the new Executive Class seats being installed in the seven A330-200s.
Its refurbishment of the seven A330-200s' interiors forms part of a larger TAP Portugal effort to upgrade the interiors of most of its mainline aircraft.
In April 2016, TAP Portugal signed an agreement with Airbus at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg to design and engineer upgrades for the cabins of 41 Airbus A319s, A320s and A321s in its fleet, as well as the seven A330-200s.
The agreement called for Airbus to design and engineer a retrofit for the A330s which included installation of 25 new lie-flat Executive Class seats ‒ each 1.9m (6ft 3in) long when fully reclined ‒ and a new in-flight entertainment system for each A330's cabin.
Other installation elements for the A330s' refurbished Executive Class cabins include support for headphones, individual reading lights, tables with storage space, bottle-holders, USB slots and electrical power sockets at each seat.
Also, for the first time, the A330-200s are to have 'Economy Plus' cabin sections, containing seats offering greater seat pitch and more seat recline than the seats in their economy-class cabins.
TAP's refurbishment-agreement with Airbus called for the aircraft manufacturer to design a retrofit program to outfit TAP's A320-family fleet with new seats and for the single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft alike to sport the airline’s new interior styling.
For the seven TAP Portugal A330-200s, the new interior styling includes new seat covers in shades of green and grey in economy, and covers in green with red details in the economy plus section.
Through its Airbus Upgrade Services unit, Airbus has supplied TAP Portugal with service bulletins, performed the engineering design, and defined and provided the methodology for the A330-200 interior-upgrade work.
Airbus also is ensuring the overall integration of all required retrofit components into the seven aircraft.
TAP Portugal's intention in upgrading the seven A330-200s is to bring their cabin-interior standards in line with those of the 20 new Airbus A330-900neos of which the carrier is due to start taking delivery in the first half of 2018. The Portuguese flag carrier has ordered 14 A330-900neos directly from Airbus and has agreed to lease six more.
Today TAP Portugal operates 16 A330-200s but it intends to replace nine of them with new A330-900neos and so decided not to renew the interiors of those nine A330-200s.
TAP Portugal began the cabin-renewal program for its A320-family fleet in the third quarter of 2016. The cabin modifications for all 48 aircraft are to be completed by the end of 2017
Having operated commercial services since 1945, TAP Portugal is celebrating 72 years of service on 14 March. In 2015, TAP Portugal Group was privatized, Atlantic Gateway Group becoming its majority shareholder.
Atlantic Gateway Group is a partnership between David Neeleman (founder of JetBlue Airways and subsequently founder and CEO of Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras) and Humberto Pedrosa, chairman and CEO of Lisbon-based transportation group Barraqueiro. Pedrosa owns a controlling 50.1 percent stake in the partnership.
During the 2017 IATA summer period, TAP Portugal's network will comprise 76 destinations in 29 countries. TAP operates an average of approximately 2,500 flights a week, using a mainline fleet of 63 Airbus aircraft and also 17 regional aircraft (eight ATR 72-600s and nine Embraer 190s) operated by wholly owned subsidiary TAP Express.