TAP hiring 250 cabin staff for summer operations

  • Lusa
  • 11 April 2022

"We are hiring around 250 crew members to ensure that we fly according to plan for the summer," Christine Ourmières-Widener said at the press conference on TAP's 2021 results.

The chief executive officer (CEO) of Portuguese flag-carrier TAP, Christine Ourmières-Widener, said today that the airline is hiring around 250 cabin crew members to ensure the summer operation, whose peak season is due to begin at the end of May.

“We are hiring around 250 crew members to ensure that we fly according to plan for the summer,” she said at the press conference on TAP’s 2021 results, a period in which it posted a loss of almost €1.6 billion.

According to Ourmières-Widener, European competitors are taking the same measures for the summer, which makes the recruitment process “challenging”, especially concerning workers for the customer support ‘call centre’, which TAP also wants to bolster.

Asked about the lack of pilots, the CEO said she does not see “any figures that show that more pilots are needed”.

“When you grow, you hire workers, but it is a viable cost,” she said, who justified the hiring with the increase in demand expected for the summer, when the airline expects to operate at 90% of 2019 levels, the best year for tourism in Portugal.

Asked whether the restructuring plan approved in December 2021 by the European Commission, but initiated by the group in January last year, had exaggerated the reduction in staff, Ourmières-Widener stressed that TAP is now “in a better situation to predict what demand will be, which was not possible during the pandemic”.

“[The restructuring plan] was challenging for many workers – and still is, with the salary cuts – but it was based on information we had,” she stressed.

“You can’t have positive EBIT [earnings before interest and taxes] flying with low capacity like we do, so the increased capacity will allow us to deliver better results,” the CEO added.

Also, as a result of the expected increase in demand in the summer, regional subsidiary Portugália said on 21 March that it would go ahead with an ACMI contract, i.e. an external services contract, to meet the forecasted needs for the summer for two to four aircraft, which is justified by the delay in the delivery of Embraer aircraft to PGA.

On 25 March, TAP said that the contract to provide external services for Portugália in the summer is what best serves the group, stressing that “the only solution” would be not to operate the flights and lose revenue and slots.

The Civil Aviation Pilots’ Union (SPAC) has estimated that the contract to provide external services at Portugália in the summer “will cost more than €8 million, which is perfectly avoidable” using TAP group resources.

Last week, the SPAC threatened to go ahead with an “indefinite strike” at Portugália, part of the TAP group, in protest over the contracting of external services at the company, according to an internal memo.