No plans for more staff cuts, says the CEO of TAP

  • ECO News
  • 15 December 2021

The CEO of TAP announced on Tuesday that there are currently no plans for further redundancies in the company.

There are currently no plans for further redundancies at TAP, the CEO said in an interview with RTP3, but she warned that there is a lot of uncertainty in what is the most difficult crisis the industry has ever had to face.

The collective dismissal process is concluded and “the information, today, is that there is no new plan for more exits. But we must not forget that we live in an uncertain world,” Christine Ourmières-Widener stated.

The surge of the new variant is the perfect example. “The pandemic is very difficult for any airline and the latest events, with the new variant, are showing us it’s not over yet.” The TAP CEO pointed out that before Omicron the carrier was experiencing a recovery. “It is still an improvement, but some markets have made it difficult for people to travel to and from there. Some travellers decided to cancel their flights and we had to deal with that,” she explained.

The European Commission’s decision on the airline’s restructuring plan could happen by Christmas and Christine Ourmières-Widener’s expectation is that it will be later this year. She is optimistic, given the work that has been done.

“At the request of the Portuguese government, we have been explaining [to the European Commission] what we do. I think it helped for them to see what we have already done and what we are achieving, without the plan having been approved. It created confidence in our ability to fulfil the plan,” said the CEO of TAP.

She also believes that “whatever is approved will be a plan that we can carry out to ensure we give the country a sustainable airline that really has the right magnitude with the right structure, with the hub in Lisbon and being a strong partner of the Portuguese economy.” “The most important part for the country and for TAP was to maintain this strong model of having a hub serving the country and connecting the country to its communities around the world,” Christine Ourmières-Widener added.

The CEO also left praise for the government’s professionalism” with whom she has a good relationship. “I was very impressed with the support, the government’s resilience and persistence to make sure that this entire plan was explained and updated because the plan is always something that is in motion.”

Once the state aid has been approved, TAP will receive €3.18 billion between 2020 and 2022, of which €1.66 billion has already been injected into the company. After that, “TAP will have to manage on its own, without support. The plan has always been to have an infrastructure and a source of revenue that allows TAP to be sustainable without government support after 2022,” she said.

Christine Ourmières-Widener has made no secret of her desire to remain at TAP after her five-year mandate, which began in June, but it will depend on “the results” that she achieves and shareholders”.

“We are very pleased to be here. This is a very difficult mission, but we feel we are part of it. Not only me, but also the people around me, my team and my family. I am still learning to speak Portuguese, but I am working hard to improve,” says Christine.