TAP Air Portugal has announced service expansion to two U.S. cities: Chicago and Washington.
Portugal’s flag carrier will start service to O’Hare International Airport on June 1 and to Washington Dulles International Airport on June 16. Both flights will connect Lisbon directly with the two U.S. destinations.
TAP will fly its brand-new widebody A330-900neo aircraft on the five weekly flights between Portugal’s capital city and both of the cities in United States.
“It was always our goal to have at least as many destinations in North America as we have in South America,” said Brazilian-American entrepreneur and TAP’s co-owner David Neeleman to USA TODAY’s Today in the Sky blog. “With Washington and Chicago, we’re up to seven. And we’re going to be able to – hopefully by next summer – make it to 10, which is what we have in Brazil.”
Neeleman has founded four commercial airlines: Azul Brazilian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Morris Air and WestJet. Since taking an ownership stake in TAP in 2015, the airline has been ordering new planes, overhauling their cabins and launching new routes.
“With more than 70 new planes on the way, this is only just the beginning,” Neeleman said in a statement.
O’Hare and Washington Dulles are both big United Airlines hubs. Both TAP and United are part of the Star Alliance and will likely combine their efforts to transfer passengers on to Europe.
“I think a lot of people in Washington and Chicago will want to go to Lisbon. And some people will just want to go to Spain or southern France or even all the way over to Italy,” Neeleman told USA Today. “There’s no better way to get to southern Europe than through Lisbon, because it sticks so far out in the Atlantic, it’s a perfect connection spot.”
TAP Air Portugal’s other U.S. destinations include Boston, Miami, New York City and Newark.