Portugália and TAP have agreed to resume their former codeshare alliance, the abandonment of which at the end of 1998 pushed both carriers into near financial meltdown.
Under the new agreement, TAP will concentrate on its trunk route passenger business, leaving PGA to provide high-quality regional services.
Portugal's regional carrier, SATA, which serves the Azores and the island of Madeira, is also mooted as a potential partner in this codeshare alliance, according to sources within the Portuguese Government.
However, even before the resumption of the alliance with PGA, TAP had begun to see positive signs of a turnaround in its business. Load factors on medium-haul flights were up two percentage points to 59% in the first quarter, while long haul averaged 77%, an increase of seven points.
The improvement in the relationship between Portugal's leading carriers was doubtless driven in part by their ascension to SwissAir and its parent SAir Group. Philippe Bruggisser, SAir's president, recently made his second visit to Lisbon for talks with TAP management.
Under discussion were ways of integrating TAP into the overall SAir Group network, TAP's future business plan, group sales in Portugal and the management of TAP's overseas sales receipts.
|TAP routes withdrawn||PGA Codeshare||New Services (new flights/week)|
|Hamburg||Stuttgart||Milan Malpensa (2)|
|Lyon||Marseilles||Cape Verde (1)|
|Nice||Faro||Paris CDG (14)|
|Notes: * already served by PGA except Hamburg|