Quality not size of TAP important – Tourism secretary

  • Lusa
  • 2 October 2020

The Portuguese secretary of state for tourism said on Fridays that she was "more concerned with the efficiency, effectiveness and quality" of TAP in the future.

The Portuguese secretary of state for tourism, Rita Marques, said in an interview with Lusa that she was “more concerned with the efficiency, effectiveness and quality” of flag carrier TAP in the future than with its size, as part of the restructuring process. “Portugal is a relatively small country but a major player regarding, for example, tourism and, therefore, the size [of TAP] does not scare me, I am more concerned with efficiency, effectiveness and quality, very honestly”, she said.

The Portuguese airline is undergoing a restructuring process and the plan has to be delivered to the European Commission by 10 December following a state loan of up to 1.2 million euros, which involves reducing its size by cutting its fleet and workers.

Although she did not see it as her job to judge the size of TAP, she stressed that it was a strategic partner for tourism in the country, pointing out that one-third of passengers who arrived in Portugal in 2019 flew on TAP.

Therefore, Rita Marques underlined the importance of a strong flagship airline for the country, capable of attracting important issuing markets for tourism.

With regard to the new airport in Montijo, she said it was a “very important infrastructure” for tourism and hoped that the conditions would be met to “make this investment as soon as possible”.

During the opening session of the 5th Tourism Summit on Monday in Lisbon, the President of the Confederation of Tourism of Portugal (CTP), Francisco Calheiros, said that the country had to “work immediately” on the Lisbon airport project.

At the beginning of last year, ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal and the state signed an agreement to expand Lisbon airport capacity with an investment of 1.15 billion euros by 2028 to expand Lisbon Airport and transform the Montijo airbase on the south bank of the Tagus into a new airport.

Under the current law, a positive opinion from all the municipalities affected by the infrastructure operation is needed for Montijo’s project to progress, with Moita and Seixal municipalities already speaking out against it.

The minister for infrastructure, Pedro Nuno Santos, has argued for a possible change to that law, saying that the construction of infrastructure of national importance should not be dependent on some municipalities.