Starting in June, travelers will have another option for international travel to Europe: direct flights to Lisbon five days a week from Dulles International Airport.
The service will be offered by TAP Air Portugal, Portugal’s leading airline.
David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways and a major shareholder in TAP, said the airline is expanding its U.S. presence and that Washington was a logical next step. In addition to Dulles, the airline will also launch service at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport beginning next year.
“Lisbon is a fantastic place but it’s hard to get to,” he said. TAP’s new service will remedy that.
Service from Dulles will begin on June 16. Economy cabin fares to Lisbon will start at $265 one-way; executive business-class fares will start at $1,456 one-way. Service will be on Airbus' A330-900neo aircraft. The airline also offers travelers a “stopover” program which allows them to spend time in Lisbon or Porto before heading to their final destination.
The arrival of TAP Air Portugal is bright spot for Dulles, which boasts a robust international roster of airlines but has struggled to compete with other area airports for passengers. In 2016, as part of an effort to make the airport more competitive, then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) championed a measure that pumped $50 million into the airport. The money was designed to lower the costs for airlines operating out of Dulles.
The efforts appear to be paying off. TAP Air Portugal is the fourth international carrier to launch new service at Dulles this year.
Last month, Alitalia announced it would begin five weekly nonstop flights to Rome in May 2019. Cathay Pacific launched nonstop service between Hong Kong and Dulles in September. And ultra low-cost carrier Volaris began offering flights to San Salvador last May.
There have been setbacks as well. The much heralded arrival of another ultralow-cost carrier, Primera Air, came to an abrupt end when the airline declared bankruptcy in October, just two months after it launched direct service between Dulles and London’s Stansted Airport. Thousands of passengers were left stranded by the shutdown.