Pilots accuse TAP of doubling Portugália costs

  • ECO News
  • 28 March 2022

The pilots' union stated that Portugália's fleet is smaller than needed due to lack of planning by TAP.

The Civil Aviation Pilots’ Union (SPAC) accuses TAP of not properly planning Portugália’s operation for the IATA summer, which begins at the end of the month. In a statement, it says there is a shortage of aircraft, which will have to be replaced at much higher cost.

“Under the terms laid down in the recovery plan for Portugália, which was declared, in association with TAP, to be in a difficult economic situation, the airline should today have a fleet of 19 aircraft, which is not the case, according to the SPAC, due to an absolute lack of timely and adequate planning by the TAP Group,” the union says in a statement, considering that “Portugália’s restructuring process is not being complied with.”

The issue at stake is the end of TAP SA’s leasing of Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, which were in the service of Portugália. In order to compensate for this loss of capacity, Portugália’s management has already announced that it will resort to outsourcing under ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance), a leasing contract that also includes crew, maintenance and insurance. This, according to the pilots’ union, is aimed at “trying not to reduce its operation, losing revenue, as well as the corresponding slots in the future”.

According to SPAC, opting for the ACMI scheme means that “Portugália pilots will be left with hours to fly, while overall remuneration costs more than double, given that the use of external crews is remunerated at international market rates and without salary reductions, as pilots and cabin crews are subject to today in the TAP group, because of the Temporary Emergency Agreements in force”.

“A second ACMI for flights that are exclusively TAP, creating a situation that does not occur in any other air transport company and which, due to its nature, will have an estimated additional cost over €8 million, perfectly avoidable if the resources available within the TAP Group had been chosen,” the statement adds.

Portugália is owned by TAP SGPS and all the flights it operates are sold by TAP SA.