Brussels rejects Portugal’s plan to fly aircraft at ⅔ capacity

Advice from Brussels has ‘rejected’ Portugal’s plan to fly aircraft at ⅔ capacity as a measure during the virus pandemic.

Economy minister Pedro Siza Vieira reacted to the news coming over the weekend saying Portugal needs a European decision – not merely advice – on plane occupancy and it has to balance the need for passenger protection against ‘economic balance’.

The confusion has come from comments made by EU commissioner for transports Adina Valean.

In conversation with Lusa news agency, Ms Valean ‘rejected’ Portugal’s rule over flight occupancy saying that she did not recommend the idea of a ‘seat-space’ between each flyer.

Citing the antipathy of low-cost airline Ryanair (click here), she said: “They do have a point”.

Ms Valean said flexibility is needed ‘to find the right balance with economic viability’.

Infrastructures minister Pedro Nuno Santos, much like Pedro Siza Vieira, said afterwards that formal recommendations must now follow.

The government meantime is “permanently evaluating the evolution of the situation” as the new law (portaria nº 106/2020) demanding that planes fly at ⅔ capacity came into effect on Sunday.