Portuguese national flag carrier TAP Air Portugal has completed its first flight between Lisbon and the Carribean resort of Cancun using an Airbus A330neo. Previously the Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS)-based full-service carrier had planned to begin its Cancun service to coincide with the 2020-2021 winter season.
Located on the northeast coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, close to the Tropic of Cancer, Cancun is a popular destination for American and Canadian vacationers looking for some winter sunshine. By operating a non-stop flight from Europe, TAP was hoping to entice Europeans to sample Cancun’s white sandy beaches and pulsating nightlife.
The flights we supposed to start last winter
In September 2020, ahead of its first flight to Cancun and other new destinations, TAP revised its Mexico launch due to European COVID-19 rules. The first-ever TAP Air Portugal flight to Mexico departed Lisbon on Saturday, March 27, 2021.
TAP Air Portugal will place one of its new widebody Airbus A330neos on the route with flights scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as flight number TP176. The flights will depart Lisbon Portela Airport at 11:45 and arrive at Cancun International Airport (CUN) at 04:10, a flight time of around 10 hours. The return journey flight number TP177 will operate on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, departing CUN at 19:30 and arriving at LIS at 10:30 the next day, a flight time of around nine hours.
TAP is putting an Airbus A330neo on the route
On the new route will be a 1.3-year-old Airbus A330-900 featuring 34 fully flat business class seats, 96 economy plus class seats (with an additional 3 inches of legroom), and 168 economy class seats. Airbus says that its new cabin design offers passengers more personal space, larger overhead bins, advanced cabin lighting, and the latest inflight entertainment and Internet connectivity.
“It is always very exciting to add new routes to countries that we have never served before. But it is particularly gratifying to increase our route network this year at a time when the airline industry has been reducing service. We see many opportunities for clients from Mexico to visit Portugal and fly to the rest of Europe and Africa with a stopover in Lisbon. ”
While the obvious historical and cultural attractions in Lisbon and Porto will appeal to Mexican tourists, TAP Air Portugal’s best in the world stopover program makes a break in either city an affordable reality. The Cancun to Lisbon flight will also allow passengers to connect on TAP flights to the rest of Europe and parts of Africa.
While the summer is a good time for Mexican tourists to visit Europe, the same cannot be said for Europeans looking to go the other way. This is why TAP Air Portugal originally wanted to commence the flights for winter 2020/2021. What we have not figured into the equation, though, is the current COVID-19 restriction and what they will mean for travel to Europe.
COVID-19 could determine the route’s success
Currently, Portugal is in a state of emergency, declared until 15 April. Arriving passengers have to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours before arriving in Portugal. The same cannot be said for Mexico, with the government not requiring any PCR test or proof of vaccination.
Summer is the low-season in Cancun, with plenty of deals to be found at beachfront resort hotels. Combines these two things and the fact that Mexico is an inexpensive place to vacation, and you now have a reason for the non-stop flights. The big question, and the one we cannot answer yet, is the situation regarding coronavirus restrictions over the coming months.
What do you think about TAP Air Portugals Cancun flights? Do you think they will be successful, or should TAP have waited until next winter before launching its new route? Please tell us what you think in the comments.