War in Ukraine won’t change TAP’s restructuring plan, says Portugal’s Infrastructure minister

  • ECO News
  • 14 March 2022

The Portuguese minister says the war in Ukraine will not change, nor delay, the company's restructuring plan.

“They wanted to put TAP planes on the ground, but we kept them in the air,” said the minister for infrastructure and housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, during a ceremony marking the airline’s 77th anniversary at the Air Museum in Sintra. The war in Ukraine, which has caused jet fuel prices to soar, does not change the company’s restructuring plan, he guarantees.

It is the airline’s anniversary and the inauguration of TAP’s new exhibition at the Air Museum in Sintra, but the present has overlapped with the past. The war in Ukraine led to a sudden increase in the price of aviation fuel, worsening the company’s costs. Pedro Nuno Santos assures, however, that this does not alter the restructuring plan.

“I don’t see that because it delays the plan,” the minister replied when questioned by journalists on the sidelines of the ceremony. “TAP’s restructuring plan is closed, end of story.” The state will inject up to €3.2 billion into the airline by the end of this year. The restructuring plan approved by Brussels involves the departure of over 2,000 workers and pay cuts.

“This date might not be being celebrated,” Pedro Nuno Santos began in his speech, in an implicit criticism of those who were against the state aid and the airline’s restructuring. “We have managed to preserve and conserve this airline”, thanks to “the determination, strength and resilience of many people”.

As on other occasions, the minister stressed TAP’s role as one of the country’s “largest net exporters”. He thanked “the effort and sacrifice of the workers, but also the role played by the previous administration led by Miguel Frasquilho, the previous CEO, Ramiro Sequeira and the secretary of state for the treasury. Not forgetting the current management team, led by Christine Ourmières-Widener, a “great woman”.

The CEO of TAP was the first to speak, in Portuguese. She recalled the “77 years of life marked by ups and downs, good and not so good days”. With the company going through a period of substantial change, Christine Ourmières-Widener stressed that TAP “is forging a new course.”