I’ve always found the airlines name difficult to accept – it’s one of those things like FedEx Express – Federal Express Express? TAP (Transportes Aéreos Prtugueses) translates into English as Transport Air Portugal Portugal. Founded in 1945, just before the end of World War 2, the airline is going through some serious changes.
The socialist government has slowed the process down, but full privatisation is inevitable in the end. Having agreed with the previous government for a full buyout, the newly elected socialists in late 2015 reversed that, and agreed a 55-45 split, with the original founder of jetBlue and Azul, David Neeleman, getting the minority stake.
The agreement however was that the airline would be run as a private company, and the Portuguese government couldn’t really do anything to invest in the airline because state aid rules inside the EU prevent it. Neeleman’s involvement through Azul was brought on by the fact TAP was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
The airline went semi-private in November 2015. By the end of February 2016 it had embarked on a major fleet renewal, ordering 53 new Airbus and 17 ATR’s.
Using the same practices used with Azul, new aircraft are combined with quality used to provide a mix, and this A333, CS-TOV is one.
TAP only operate 3 A333’s at present (with one more expected) along with 15 A332’s. TAP is also scheduled next year, to be the launch customer for the A330neo.
All three of the A333’s are ex-Singapore Airlines and CS-TOV was the second delivered in May 2017. Previously 9V-STE, she was delivered to SIA in 2009.
CS-TOV is equipped with Rolls Royce Trent 772B-60’s and retains a 30 business and 225 seat economy layout inherited from SIA.
The livery is quite something. When TAP joined Star Alliance on its 60th anniversary in 2005, the airline changed its livery to the current one and became TAP Portugal, dropping the ‘Air’. The livery on CS-TOV is the original 1945 version that seems to have lasted into the early 1970’s. TAP holds the distinction of being the first European airline to fly only jet aircraft.
Once again, Aeroclassics retain the best A330 mould and this particular fuselage is gorgeous.
Not only does it have high quality print and detail, it’s got a paint job rarely matched in quality by anyone.
The silver of the lower half is superbly done. Not only is it a quality colour, it looks awesome, the finish is superb and its outstandingly good. You sort of want to keep touching it, because the quality finish is frankly, seductive!
The upper half, split with a dark red line that fans out towards the nose, and matches the font for colour, is superbly done, without a fault or blemish. The white above and below it is equally clean and special.
Graphics are first-rate and there is simply nothing to complain about and everything to love.
2.Wings and landing gear
Superbly slotted in wings offer a near-seamless finish. The paint is not to heavy, a little glossy, but not offensively so. Detail in the wing mould shows through clearly. The central, darker grey is more of a silk finish that looks the part.
The Portuguese national flag on the winglets outside are slightly odd as even in real life they don’t have the countries yellow-wrapped coat of arms in the centre, whereas the one on the fuselage does. The inner winglet has the old green flying wing logo seen at the top of the tail fin.
It’s a truly first-rate set of wings and nothing detracts from its excellence. The landing gear is equally neat, and as good as any found on any other brand, indeed I’d say better.
Another superb job with the silver paint makes these look really good. The rims are neat and lack issues, the fans are not overly bright even though I’m never happy with silver, and the rear black finish is neatly executed.
So often messed up the nose is another gorgeous piece of quality finish. The silver, reds, white and logos, along with technical detail are all excellent, down to the coat of arms and the Star Alliance logo, really very special.
Exquisitely done. Really, in terms of finish, detail and overall quality this is outstanding. It just adds even more to a wonderful model.
7.Score and conclusion
A huge amount of effort has gone into this model, and it shows.
- There are no manufacturing defects, paint or quality problems.
- For the first time ever, I’m delighted to award Aeroclassics a 100% score. That’s only the second model to reach that high this year.
What a delight to have something so beautifully made. And the cost of it less than the price of a Gemini A320!
I am really pleased with this model. I don’t always go for retro liveries, but I’m glad I bought this, it’s worth every penny paid for it and is infinitely better value than anything made by Gemini with their inflated prices.
I cannot explain how nice it is to hold and look at something so well made. I was looking at the old JCW mould of the TAP A332 CS-TON, one of the last they did with the cradle mould wings, not long ago. This is like something from another world in quality terms, compared to that.
Aeroclassics have come in for some stick from me in the past, but what a revelation that they’ve managed this so well. The best AC model I’ve ever had or seen. Whatever AC are doing, keep doing it because if this is the result, then collectors will be very happy.
My recommendation: a definite buy! An outsanding model superbly executed.
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