TAP Air Portugal plans to add at least five new destinations in the USA in the next five years, as it continues to see potential in the US-Europe market.

The Lisbon-based carrier began service to Chicago O'Hare and San Francisco earlier this month, and most recently added Washington Dulles on 16 June.

TAP now serves seven US destinations, Cirium schedules data show. The Star Alliance carrier's US frequencies have grown from about 14 weekly flights three years ago to 56, chief executive Antonoaldo Neves told FlightGlobal at an event in Washington DC marking the launch of Dulles service.

In addition to the seven US cities, TAP serves an eighth North American destination in Toronto.

The carrier plans to decide by October on future US expansion, says Neves, noting that the carrier's business plan includes potential service to Houston, Los Angeles and Providence. Additional frequencies to existing destinations are also being considered, he adds.

"We are sure that there are at least five new destinations that we can add in the US in the next five years," says Neves.

While TAP has expanded significantly across the Atlantic, he notes that the carrier's share of the US-Europe market is still small, at under 2% of seats.

"It's very big market, but yields are good. There's less competition than a year ago, and many airlines gave up. We are excited about the US-Europe market," says Neves.

Carriers like Primera Air and Wow Air, which had operated transatlantic service, have ceased operations in the recent year.

More than 60% of demand in TAP's US-Europe market originates in the USA, signalling the success of TAP's marketing efforts to Americans, Neves adds.

TAP is serving its newest US destinations with the Airbus A330neo. The airline was the first operator to take delivery of that aircraft. Neves says the A330neo has been "transformational" for the airline. "It has been expanding our margins by about five to seven points," he adds.

The carrier has taken delivery of 10 A330-900s, and has orders for an additional 12, Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows.

TAP is also taking delivery of new A320neo family aircraft, and expects 80% of its fleet to be re-engined Airbus aircraft by year-end, says Neves.

Source: Cirium Dashboard