Gateway, the joint-venture between JetBlue Airways and Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras founder David Neeleman and Portuguese bus company Barraqueiro Group, is looking to re-equip TAP Portugal (TP, Lisbon) with next generation Airbus aircraft as part of its investment plan for the carrier. The consortium was recently selected by Lisbon to acquire a 61% stake in TAP, formalizing the agreement on Wednesday, June 24.

Sources who spoke to Portugal's Expresso newspaper said TAP's fleet renewal plan will include A330neo and A321neo LRs. The first of the A330neo are slated to arrive during the final quarter of 2017 while the A321neoLRs will arrive after 2019.

Given their range and suitability to the trans-atlantic market, the upgraded A321s will form the backbone of TAP's fleet constituting more than half the fifty-three new aircraft a revitalized TAP intends to acquire.

In a bid to curb the impact of seasonal capacity fluctuations, TAP and Azul will share aircraft among themselves.

As an interim measure, the cabins of TAP's existing fleet - twenty-one A319-100s, nineteen A320-200s, three A321-200s, and fourteen A330-200s - will be upgraded to improve their overall onboard product appeal.

Meanwhile, Avianca Holdings boss Germán Efromovich is planning to drag Lisbon's selection of Gateway over his SAGEF consortium, to the European Commission (EC). Lawyers representing the Colombian-born entrepreneur have already submitted a formal request to Parpública, the firm which oversees government's shareholdings in parastatals, to request access to documents including its assessment of the two proposals as well as Gateway's actual bid.

A decision on whether to not to pursue legal proceedings will depend on their analysis of said documents.

Earlier this week, the owner of the Barraqueiro Group Humberto Pedrosa denied accusations that his group's participation in Gateway was only a means for Neeleman to circumvent EC regulations capping foreign participation in European airlines at 49.9%. Pedrosa said in a statement that his firm holds the majority 50.1% of the consortium while David Neeleman, a US and Brazilian citizen, holds the remaining 49.9%.