Hotel sector wants TAP sized to national tourism, ‘serves country’

  • Lusa
  • 21 October 2020

The president of the Hotel Association of Portugal (AHP) said on Wednesday that the sector wants an airline company that is sized to the national tourism.

The president of the Hotel Association of Portugal (AHP) told Lusa on Wednesday that the sector wants, as part of the restructuring of TAP, an airline company that is sized to the national tourism, profitable and serving the country.

The president of AHP said that the development of the air carrier in recent years, with private management, was not so much to serve the tourist country, but more to achieve results, which, after all, were negative.

However, he pointed out that, within the options of TAP’s previous management, the investment in the US market was a very positive aspect.

“This new management of TAP that will be realised will certainly do so [the investment on the American market], because it is, in financial terms, beneficial for TAP, but it is also beneficial for the country, being certain that the routes of America and Brazil, in particular, do not have much competition from low-cost companies,” he added.

Regarding the airline’s operation in Porto, Raul Martins said he did not understand how that city was placed in a second option situation and understood that reducing connections with Porto was a not very curial decision.

However, the president of AHP said he has information that TAP is conducting a survey of Porto’s needs in terms of operation – as well as Madeira and the Azores – as part of the restructuring plan to be presented to the European Commission, which will make Porto come back to the importance it should in terms of tourism.

“The fact that many low-cost operations are operating very intensively to Porto or the Algarve does not mean that TAP does not have its share and its market, not only of the Portuguese nationals who want to move but also of tourists who come to the north,” he added.

At a hearing at the Commission for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Public Works and Housing on 15 October in parliament, the minister for infrastructure and housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, said that the four routes created at Porto airport for Amsterdam, Milan, Zurich and Ponta Delgada have 46% of capacity on average and are currently a loss to TAP.

The minister also said that he is studying the reinforcement of TAP Express/Portugal’s fleet to operate, from Porto and Faro to other European airports, on point-to-point connections, to try to make TAP more competitive, namely against low-cost airlines.

On 2 July, the government announced that it had reached an agreement with TAP’s private shareholders, and now holds 72.5% of the airline’s capital, for €55 million.

On 10 June, the European Commission approved “Portuguese rescue aid” to the airline TAP, state support of up to €1.2 billion to meet immediate liquidity needs with pre-determined conditions for its repayment, including the presentation of a restructuring plan by mid-December.