Brazil AirlinesNews

Azul Airlines’ CEO using Portugal as Europe’s new gateway

Brazil's Azul Airlines' CEO David Neeleman wants to turn a 73-year-old airline, TAP  
and its home in Portugal into the next gateway into Europe. 
He says that "Portugal is very well positioned to be a hub 
to receive people in Europe. It is only 3,300 miles from New York. 
There is no other big city on the European continent that is closer than Lisbon. 

The idea of transforming Lisbon into a European hub is the basis
 of the strategy of Neeleman and Antonoaldo Neves, the chief executive for Azul.
At the same time, Neeleman guarantees that at the top of the list is the
 financial balance of  TAP, which accumulated losses and debt over a decade
 and returned in 2017 to have positive results (100 million euros).
"The way the airline was financed before was basically to have the banks take
turns to put money into the company," says Neeleman. "And because there was 
no capital to buy new planes, the fleet was very old. It looked like we were flying
 in the 1970s, on those planes, "said David Neeleman, noting that customer
service  and maintenance structure performed well.

The Atlantic Gateway consortium's $ 900 million investment made it possible
 to resolve financial commitments and "invest in the purchase of 71 new aircraft 
from Airbus." TAP's plan, until next year, is to have the entire fleet comprised of
the new Airbus A330neo and also current-generation Airbus aircraft purchased 
used but with refurbished interiors.
By the end of 2019, TAP expects to its entire wide-body long-haul fleet to be 
either the brand new next-generation Airbus A330neo airliners or current 
generation Airbus aircraft with brand new refurbished interiors. 
To help boost Portugal's prominence as a travel destination, TAP allows 
passengers to extend their layovers up to five days for free.