In light of the stabilization of the airline, David Neeleman says he hopes to announce more destinations and flights from Oporto. But "he cannot wait" five years to have a new airport in Lisbon.
David Neeleman, one of TAP’s main shareholders, believes that “we cannot wait five years to open a new airport” in Lisbon — since it is possible to do it in two years. As for Oporto, he plans to announce new flights and destinations by next Summer. “We have been more than prepared to do so for two years”, he explained.
“We need a new airport. We cannot wait five years to open a new one”, Neeleman stated, in Lisbon. According to the shareholder, a terminal like Portela’s Terminal 2 can be built in six months, so he says “we can have anything in two years if we really focus on it”.
As for financing, Neeleman maintains his position of refusing to pay for an airport that is mainly meant for lowcost flights. “Everyone should pay for their own airport. I am not going to spend money to have Ryanair come and take away our business. No one in Portugal should accept that. We are a Portuguese company and we cannot be harmed helping others that do profit more than us. TAP is just getting by — I’m not giving them subsidies”.
Everyone should pay for their own airport. I am not going to spend money to have Ryanair come and take away our business. No one in Portugal should accept that.
David Neeleman is focused on amortizing TAP’s 600 million euros’ debt, by paying ten million euros per month, starting in November of 2018. Additionally, he believes that decreasing costs is the only way to recover financially when limited by infrastructures, signaling that the lack of another airport is TAP’s main challenge. “When the number of passengers grows by 25%, infrastructures also need to grow”, Neeleman states.
When TAP was privatized, there was a decrease in TAP’s flights to Oporto. Now, Neeleman says the airline is more than stable enough to return to the city, pointing to next Spring or Summer to announce new destinations and flights. “We have better airplanes and a closer way of working with Ryanair”, stated Neeleman, while adding that by 2019, TAP’s aircraft will have been fuly renovated.