Yet another not so great moment for TAP's CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener. Image by António Cotrim/ Lusa

TAP cancels order for fleet of new BMWs

Airline bows to public outrage, admitting it ‘understands general sentiment’

Television news anchors last night hailed the decision as a sign of the power of the press: Portugal’s flagship airline, buoyed up by billions in taxpayers’ money, has agreed that now is not the moment to order a fleet of new BMWs for its ‘top brass’.

Cancelling the order that prompted a storm of outrage, a statement from the airline said that it “understands the general sentiment of the Portuguese people, and in spite of the decision for the auto fleet being less onerous for the company under current market terms, TAP will seek to maintain the current fleet for a maximum period of a year while it reevaluates the company’s mobility policy”.

Syndicate critics SPAC (representing pilots) have said it is “the least” the company could have done.

Tiago Faria Lopes told reporters that “TAP management cannot pretend nothing happens when dealing with taxpayers’ money. The renewal of the fleet for management at this moment is ethically and morally unacceptable. Suspending the purchase is the only answer possible to correct a decision which no one can agree with. It is simply a matter of respect…”

According to statements made recently by prime minister António Costa, the ‘maximum period of a year’ could see TAP no longer in State hands.

But by any yardstick, 2022 has been a terrible year for the airline: it registered what one newspaper described as ‘pornographic losses’; it was deluged by complaints over the peak summer period; it lost copious amounts of baggage – and it suffered a fairly devastating IT hack.