TAP sees more than 20% increase in passenger numbers
Portuguese flag-carrier, TAP, carried almost 14.3 million passengers in 2017, 2.55 million more than in 2016, a 21.7% increase, the company has announced. The Lisbon- Porto ‘Ponte aérea’ (“air-bridge”) was the airline’s busiest route with a total of 726,000 passengers, 8% up on the year before. European routes contributed most to the overall figures with 8.7 million passengers in the 12 months, more than 22%more than 2016. Connections to Brazil increased 14% to 1.6 million passengers.
BA fills Monarch flight slots to Madeira with subcontractors
As British Airways prepares for its biggest summer programme of flights from Gatwick for a decade, The Independent reports that thousands of passengers will find themselves buying BA tickets but flying on a different carrier. The airline’s parent company, IAG, paid over £50m for slots at the Sussex airport previously owned by Monarch, which ceased trading in October.
Permission to land and take off at specific times is granted on a “use it or lose it” basis, so BA will be expected to operate 28 per cent more flights to fill the slots. The airline has already announced plans for more than 15 per cent additional arrivals and departures, including increased flights to Spain and Portugal.
Without a commensurate increase in the number of aircraft and staff based at Gatwick, the airline will have to bring in planes and crews from elsewhere — a practice known as “wet leasing”. A spokesperson for British Airways said: “Some routes will be operated by BA planes, other services will be operated by BA CityFlyer aircraft and other wet lease carriers on our behalf. “Customers will be notified ahead of their flight which of these carriers will operate their flight.”
One of the airlines will be Titan Airways (pictured), based at Stansted airport. It has previously covered for British Airways on an ad-hoc basis, for example during last year’s cabin crew dispute at Heathrow.Titan is expected to operate some longer-distance European services from Gatwick, including routes to Larnaca and Paphos in Cyprus, Dalaman in Turkey, the Canary Islands and Madeira.
New smoking rules come into force
A ban prohibiting smoking in open public spaces such as holiday camps or children’s playgrounds has come into effect in Portugal as restrictions are tightened this year. The new law was approved by Parliament back in June, which also sees a ban of e-cigarettes in closed spaces. Up until the end of 2017, people could smoke e-cigarettes in a hospital or a school classroom. Smoking is still however permitted at sporting venues such as football stadiums.
There is, however, still a very relaxed attitude towards smoking in public places across the country, and Madeira is no exception. It still alarms me to see so many youngsters – girls in particular – smoking here.