TAP CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener

TAP responds to “revolting” bombshell dropped in televised debate

TAP has responded to the ‘revolting’ bombshell dropped by PSD leader Rui Rio in last night’s televised pre-election debate.

Holding up a computer print out, Mr Rio explained that a TAP flight leaving Madrid for San Francisco, stopping in Lisbon, charges passengers in Madrid just €190 for the transatlantic journey, while those entering the plane in Lisbon have to pay €697 to reach the same destination.

The fact that Portuguese taxpayers are being called on to buoy up TAP with another €3.2 billion, and yet are charged more than Spaniards for the same flight is “absolutely indecent”, he railed.

TAP is not the flagship airline of Portugal that it likes to make itself out to be, but the flagship of Spain “or any other country”.

Visibly outraged, Mr Rio classified the situation as “revolting”.

This morning TAP has explained, in a written message sent to ECO online.

According to the company the difference stems from one of the flights being direct, the other not.

Put another way “to fill a flight to the United States, TAP has to find passengers from other destinations, and can only convince Spaniards to fly with a competitive tariff”, explains ECO.

Direct flights are also “normally more expensive than flights with stopovers”.

Said TAP’s statement: “Prices are determined by the law of supply and demand. There is strong competition offering flights from any airport in Europe to the US. For TAP to attract passengers who want to fly between Madrid or Barcelona and a destination in the US – the example was given, but valid for most cases – it must have a price that is competitive with the offer of airlines that operate direct flights on the same route, or with a stopover at any other hub”.

According to the company led by Christine Ourmières-Widener “flights with stopovers are considered to be ‘longer, less comfortable’ and ‘worse’ in terms of options – hence the massively reduced price.

The truth nonetheless is that Portuguese citizens are left in this case paying almost four times more for a flight on their own ‘flagship’ airline than their Spanish neighbours…

As last night’s debate heard, a PSD executive would sell TAP “as fast as possible”.

Rui Rio considered the airline serves Lisbon “in an indecent manner” while failing to connect the rest of the country.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com