TAP starts unpaid leave scheme to combat Covid-19 effects

  • Lusa
  • 6 March 2020

The goal of the program is to "scale the workforce to the current operational activity", which had a sharp drop due to the spread of the new coronavirus.

Portuguese flag-carrier TAP has opened an unpaid leave programme to all employees in the aviation business, for a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 90 days, covering the months of April, May and June.

According to the communiqué sent by human resources to the workers on Thursday night, to which Lusa had access, the voluntary and temporary programme of unpaid leave aims to “scale the workforce to the current operational activity”, which has seen a sharp drop due to the spread of the new coronavirus.

Those interested in joining the programme, which covers pilots and cabin crew, must register, indicating the desired period – between one and three months, period during which the workers “maintain the right of passage facilities, as well as health insurance”, the document said.

On Thursday, TAP’s executive committee announced the implementation of measures to reduce and control costs, including the suspension or postponement of investments and hiring and the “implementation of temporary unpaid leave programmes,” according to a note sent to workers.

In the same note, TAP told employees that “the evolution of the coronavirus outbreak has also had a growing impact on the global economy, with the tourism and civil aviation sectors being among the most impacted.

According to the carrier’s executive committee, “there was no negative impact in January and February” on the business, but “in recent days there has been a significant drop in bookings, with a direct impact” on sales.

For this reason, TAP decided to implement measures for the “adequacy of supply” and “careful management of the cash position, to continue to maintain the necessary liquidity that the activity requires,” the note added.

The airline is to cancel about 1,000 flights in March and April, “reducing capacity by 4% in March and 6% in April” the company explained in a statement sent to newsrooms on Friday.

According to the statement, the cancellations “focus especially on the operation to cities in the most affected regions, especially Italy, but also include the reduction in supply in other European markets that show greater drops in demand, such as Spain or France”, including “some intercontinental flights, given TAP’s operating model, as a long-haul and connecting company.”