TAP strike called off

By CHRIS GRAEME [email protected]

Thousands of Easter tourists can breathe a sigh of relief after a potentially devastating TAP pilots’ strike was called off on Tuesday evening.

TAP management finally agreed to demands for a 1.8 per cent salary increase, which was brokered by the Civil Aviation Pilots Union (SPAC).

Now an estimated 150,000 passengers booked onto flights to Europe, South America and Africa will not see their Easter holidays wrecked.

Negotiations had lasted hours until an agreement was reached at 7.30pm on Tuesday.

The end of the strike threat was announced following the signing of a preliminary agreement between the two parties – TAP management and unions.

António Mendonça, Minister for Public Works and Transport, responsible for the public airline company, welcomed the agreement saying that it “showed a high degree of responsibility on the part of the pilots”.

But for that TAP has been forced to cave into pilot demands for a windfall percentage share from financial gains worth 21 million euros resulting from the company’s new Company Agreement (Acordo de Empresa).

“The agreement to end the strike includes a salary increase of 1.8 per cent, equal to that decided by the other TAP unions, and the equitable sharing of the company’s productivity gains between pilots and the rest of the company,” said TAP in its statement.

TAP’s Chief Executive, Fernando Pinto, sent a brief statement out to the press yesterday evening in which he “apologised to all those who had suffered inconvenience due to the announced strike” while promising to “do everything to minimise its effects” and guaranteeing “to get things back to normal as swiftly as possible.”

There was also good news for British Airways passengers over the current cabin crew strike, as the British national carrier expanded its flight schedules for Unite’s strike period later this month because so many cabin crews “wanted to work as normal”.

The airline confirmed that more than 3,000 cabin crew, who were due to work last weekend and Monday, reported for work as normal.

In a statement, BA said: “As a result of this support from cabin crew, the airline will run a full operating service using its own aircraft at London Gatwick for the second strike period and all flights to and from London City will remain unaffected.

“At Heathrow, the airline will extend its schedule to include up to 55 per cent of short haul flights and 70 per cent of long haul flights.”

Passengers flying to and from Faro, Porto and Lisbon with flights booked on BA over the strike period should check their flight details on the British Airways website on