Flight cancellations at country’s airports have peaked – TAP CEO

  • Lusa
  • 14 July 2022

"Lisbon is recovering faster than other airports that are recovering more slowly. In a fortnight we are already seeing improvements," the chief executive officer (CEO) of TAP said this Thursday.

The chief executive officer (CEO) of TAP on Thursday considered that flight cancellations at Portuguese airports “have already peaked” and are due not just to one problem, but a “long list” of them.

“When we look at our scheduled flights and all the factors at play we see that we have reached the peak already, we don’t need to wait for August, because our peak started in July and the same happened to all the companies due to the `slots’ rules, whose regulation and rules were late,” said Christine Ourmières-Widener.

The manager was speaking to journalists in Sao Paulo to mark the increase from two to three weekly flights between Porto (Portugal) and Sao Paulo (Brazil).

Also via Porto, TAP has also increased its flights to Rio de Janeiro, to twice a week.

The airline currently operates 140 flights per week from Porto, with a focus on connecting the city to more distant destinations, she said.

The airline’s CEO believes that the “peak” will stabilise by the winter season, guaranteeing that it is doing “everything it can” in terms of organisation and resources to improve the situation at airports, particularly Lisbon airport.

The disruptions being experienced in TAP’s operations extend to all airlines in Europe, she stressed, speaking of the “numerous” challenges facing this industry today.

“Lisbon is recovering faster than other airports that are recovering more slowly. In a fortnight we are already seeing improvements,” she said.

This problem, which is common to all airlines, is “complex” and does not have just one cause, but a “long list” of them, from problems with handling (the English name covering all services provided on the ground to support aircraft, passengers, luggage, cargo and mail), lack of staff and spare planes and the navigation system at Lisbon airport being full, stressed Christine Ourmières-Widener.

The carrier’s CEO stressed it was making “adjustments” at Lisbon airport to improve service, notably recruiting more cabin staff.

The cancellation of flights is not beneficial for any airline, she said, admitting that it would have an impact on TAP’s accounts.

Asked about a new airport in Lisbon, the manager said that whatever the government’s decision it would be “welcome”.

“I have only been in Portugal for a year, the history of the airport began before me, the only thing we think is that we need a vision for TAP and any decision will be welcome for us”.

She added: “When we know where and when we can prepare and make this a very successful story for TAP and for Portugal of course, but first we need a decision.”

Christine Ourmières-Widener assured that she will always support the Government’s “difficult” decision.