May 25, 2020 / 4:02 PM / 3 months ago

Portugal's TAP to restore more than 200 flights from July 1

LISBON, May 25 (Reuters) - Portugal’s flag carrier TAP will resume some of its international operations to hard-hit Italy, Spain and various other destinations from the beginning of July as lockdowns imposed to combat the coronavirus are slowly lifted.

A plan published on TAP’s website on Monday showed around 240 weekly fights will operate between July 1 and 31, including 14 flights per week from Lisbon to Milan and Rome, as well as to Barcelona and Madrid.

The airline, which under normal conditions operates around 2,500 weekly flights, is now running two flights a week from Lisbon to London and Paris, but will increase the frequency on those routes in July and add flights to Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam and other cities across Europe.

Two flights per week from Lisbon to New York will start as early as next Monday. TAP will also fly to Boston, Miami and Toronto in July. More flights to Brazil, the world’s No. 2 coronavirus hotspot behind the United States, are also scheduled.

Last month TAP, which was partly privatised in 2015, asked for a state-backed loan to help it survive the crisis, with Chairman Miguel Frasquilho describing the company as at its most fragile since it was founded.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa has raised the possibility of re-nationalising TAP and, earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Alvaro Novo said the government hoped to make a decision on a capital injection by mid-June.

Brazilian-U.S. airline entrepreneur David Neeleman holds a 45% stake in TAP, the state 50% and TAP employees the remaining 5%.

$1 = 0.9178 euros Reporting by Catarina Demony, Editing by Andrei Khalip, Kirsten Donovan

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