All 10 Portuguese airports “at risk of stopping”

Summer flights chaos just got even more complicated

All 10 Portuguese airports (that is, four on the mainland, two in Madeira and four in the Azores) are at risk of “stopping this summer”, tabloid Correio da Manhã warns today.

“The threat comes from SINTAC (the national syndicate of civil aviation workers) which does not accept the proposal by ANA Airports to bring an end to salary scales and reduce salaries by around 30%”.

According to syndicate leader Rúben Simas, SINTAC’s last meeting with ANA hierarchy met with stalemate.

SINTAC members “reject the cut in salaries and demand the hiring of more human resources in operational areas”, meaning in all areas of airports, including emergency and maintenance.

“According to Rúben Simas the lack of professionals in these areas is putting the security of airports at risk”, says the paper.

All scenarios are on the table. Simas claims: “We want to try and avoid contributing to the chaos that is ongoing in Europe and which is reflecting on Portugal, particularly in Lisbon, but this situation is simply not acceptable. We await new dialogue with ANA”.

A decision to schedule “paralysations”, says CM, should happen within the next few days.

Since last Saturday “at least 181 flights have been cancelled in and out of Lisbon’s heaving Humberto Delgado airport”, the paper adds.

The Resident has been hearing from frustrated and disgruntled passengers – and has even heard today of a new situation, in which TAP is claiming to “not know where a flyer’s luggage is” when he has located it on his own smartphone.

Says Filipe Navaro: “Please help me by writing about this. There is medication inside that bag for my mom and she needs it…”

CM too has carried commentary from passengers left high and dry, with no food or water offered, no hotel accommodation in cases where they are presented with long delays – and no changes of clothes due to issues with baggage.

“TAP doesn’t represent the Portuguese”, said one. “It tarnishes the image of our country”.

CM’s report covers the same ground highlighted recently by consumers’ association DECO: passengers should by law be compensated for these delays, financially and with offers of hotel accommodation, yet this appears far from happening.

ANA airports authority meantime has been blaming airlines for the flight cancellations. Executive president Thierry Logonnière was in parliament yesterday, on the request of centre-right PSD, answering among other issues the fact that German ranking site Air-Help has placed Lisbon airport in 132nd place, which is bottom of the list.

In spite of all the problems – for the time being at least – CM stresses that ANA has “rejected a scenario of reduction in the capacity of Lisbon airport”.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com