Impact of €48M – €95M if TAP night flights banned due to noise restrictions

  • Lusa
  • 17 September 2020

The airline's new CEO said that TAP is unfavorable to any change in night flight schedules and speaks of a potential financial impact of between €47.6 - €95.2 million.

TAP’s new CEO said on Wednesday that the airline is unfavorable to any change in night flight schedules and speaks of a potential financial impact of between €47.6 – €95.2 million.

Ramiro Sequeira, who, as he explained, is “just in time” to officially become Antonoaldo Neves’ successor in charge of TAP, participated by videoconference in a hearing of the Working Group – Night Civil Flights, of the Parliamentary Committee on Environment, Energy and Spatial Planning, under the bills of the PAN and the Left Bloc to ban civil night flights between 00:00 and 06:00, except for reasons of force majeure.

Asked about the airline’s flexibility for schedule changes, he said that TAP is “unfavorable to any change,” since this could have financial impacts between €47.6 and €95.2 million, based on all the flights that the airline would no longer operate at night.

The CEO argued that there are other ways to reduce noise, including the use of more advanced technologies and changes to approach and landing protocols.

“TAP meets all industry indicators regarding noise and the use of available mechanisms for an airline to address this issue,” assured Ramiro Sequeira, underlining that TAP is “sensitive to all individuals who are affected by noise.

With regard to non-compliance with night flight restrictions, TAP pointed out that 73% are not attributable to the company but are related to issues related to the airport operation itself and to a “snowball of delays” that can be generated throughout the day.

“When we have an airport [Humberto Delgado, Lisbon] that is operating at its maximum capacity […] it means that there is no room for unforeseen events,” he pointed out, referring to delays caused by weather conditions, traffic from other countries, or military exercises in the vicinity of the airport.

“This creates the snowball. This is something that TAP tries to get around, but the reality is that we operate in an airport with a runway and that has the slots sold,” he added.

“Moving all flights that are authorized at night to daytime is not a solution in itself, because in a normal summer, these ‘slots’ will be occupied,” he argued.

The Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) has expressed its support for a reduction in night flights and advocates that it should apply to the period between 23:00 and 07:00, as it stated at a hearing in July.

On the same day, the working group also heard Ana Nogueira, from the National Institute of Health Ricardo Jorge, who made a balance of measures related to noise approved in recent years, namely by the World Health Organization (WHO). “Due to exposure to environmental noise it was estimated that about one million years of healthy life are lost annually in Western European countries,” she said.

The president of the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC), Luís Miguel Ribeiro, said that noise levels have been decreasing, particularly due to the greater efficiency of aircraft engines, and he criticized the fact that housing has been allowed to be built near airports.

Antonoaldo Neves leaves TAP’s leadership today, following the agreement between the Government and private shareholders for the reorganization of the group’s corporate structure – with the departure of David Neeleman – and will be temporarily replaced by Ramiro Sequeira.

In a letter to which Lusa had access, the outgoing CEO stated that “there is always room to do more and better”, stating that he leaves the airline “with a feeling of mission accomplished.”