Portuguese state airline increases number of passengers on flights to Africa

8 February 2007

Lisbon, Portugal, 8 Feb – Portuguese air carrier, TAP – Air Portugal posted an increase of almost 20 percent in the number of passengers it carried on its African flights in 2006, and the company is awaiting authorization to increase the frequency of its flights, a company spokesperson said.

The spokesperson, cited by Portuguese news agency Lusa, said that revenue from the seven African routes (Luanda, Maputo, Johannesburg, Bissau, Praia, Sao Tome and Dakar), rose above the average for the group, and boosted its weighting of total revenues from 12 percent to 15 percent, or 169 million euros.

The company transported 380,000 passengers on its seven African routes, an annual increase of 19.8 percent, with flights to Luanda and Maputo being the most important.

On these two routes, the spokesperson said, “there are conditions to attract traffic to justify new flights,” without affecting the occupation rates of the aircraft.

TAP plans a daily flight to Luanda and Maputo, to where it currently runs four and five weekly flights, respectively, but requires local authorization, which it is currently awaiting.

Last year, the carrier added a weekly flight to its Luanda and Maputo routes, and despite this the load factor of its African routes rose from 73 percent to 75 percent.

In terms of Bissau and Sao Tome, to which TAP has weekly flights, boosting flights is “a possibility that can be looked at, but we do not expect a great increase in demand,” the spokesperson added. (macauhub)