20 July 2015

TAP Portugal´s full circle. A350-800, A350 XWB and A330neo.

A majority stake in TAP was recently sold by the Portuguese government to a consortium of investors that includes Azul (and JetBlue) founder David Neeleman.

Source: Carlos Ortega

TAP originally placed an order for 10 Airbus A350-800s in 2005, when the aircraft was still supposed to have a traditional metallic fuselage but new engines.
The airline later converted the order to the XWB and increased the number of aircraft from 10 to 12 in 2007.
Source: Carlos Ortega

4 years after that, TAP agreed to change the order again and moved from the -800 to the new baseline -900 after Airbus opted to shrink the smaller variant, which affected its economic efficiency.
Now another 4 years have passed, and TAP may be close to dumping the A350 order altogether in favor of the A330neo.
Source: Carlos Ortega

If industry insiders’ predictions are correct, TAP will have gone full circle—an ironic twist to its widebody plans, because the A330neo comes relatively close to what the airline originally wanted to order: an A330 with better engines and better range.

From the airline’s perspective, the about-face makes perfect sense. The A330neo is cheaper than the A350 and seems to almost perfectly match TAP’s requirements.

The carrier’s long-haul network is focused on destinations in Brazil, and stage lengths typically do not exceed 10 hr., which is close to the ideal operating range of the A330neo and below what the A350 has been designed for. Given the options, the A350 seems like too much aircraft for the mission.

Based on the article “Going Full Circle” published in Aviation Week.

1 comment:

  1. Makes sense. Economics always to the fore. Airbus must always remember, customer comes first. You can dream later.