TAP capacity, flights cut by 70% in November

  • Lusa
  • 21 December 2020

Ramiro Sequeira, TAP's executive president, said that Portuguese flag-carrier reduced capacity by 71% and the number of flights by 72% in November, compared to the same period in 2019

Portuguese flag-carrier TAP reduced capacity by 71% and the number of flights by 72% in November, compared to the same period in 2019, Ramiro Sequeira, the company’s executive president, said in a message to workers.

The main indicators for the first nine months of the year,- number of passengers and flights, capacity, ‘load factor’ (relationship between a specific cargo and the total weight of the aircraft), ‘block hours’ (unit of measurement used in aviation) and revenue per passenger – fell by between 63% and 70% compared to the same period last year.

“This report confirms the reversal of the recovery that took place in the third quarter of this year, following the imposition of new travel restrictions and the second wave of the pandemic, and highlights the impact of the pandemic, the impositions and restrictions on passenger mobility and the behaviour of demand on TAP’s operational performance”, the letter sent to workers said.

The airline’s CEO also noted that the recovery “will be slow and depend very much on the level of confidence,” pointing out that projections by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicate that demand will recover to 90% or more of 2019 levels in TAP’s relevant markets, even with the vaccine, only between 2024 and 2025, with an estimated recovery of about 50% in 2021 compared to 2019.

“However, if the recovery takes place earlier than expected, we will have the capacity to respond to it, as we are sized to the expected level of demand for 2022, as foreseen in the restructuring plan,” Ramiro Sequeira said.

Regarding the discovery of a new strain of the new coronavirus in the United Kingdom, which has led in recent hours to the suspension of flights and additional restrictions by several countries in the world, including Portugal, the CEO considered that this is the context in which TAP has been operating and which it will face in the coming months.

As far as cargo transport is concerned, he noted that since the beginning of the year, “TAP has made nearly 300 flights exclusively dedicated to air cargo, to some 30 different destinations in five continents”.

“With four aircraft converted into cargo, two of them with the TAP Air Cargo livery, it is clear that the cargo business has played and will continue to play an important role in the response and recovery of TAP,” he said.

The operational and financial results of the last quarter of this year are expected “with much apprehension and concern”, despite the Christmas and New Year period, as well as those of the first quarter of 2021, “typically a challenging quarter for the aviation industry, but particularly in the current context severely affected by the negative impact of Covid-19”.

Regarding the timetable for the implementation of the restructuring plan that the airline is to undergo, Ramiro Sequeira said that the dialogue was continuing “with all bodies representing workers” and that “progressively all areas” were being involved.

“Again we ensure that we have defined all the details, they will be communicated to the whole organisation in early 2021,” he said.