TAP inquiry continues to power political shockwaves
The leader of Portugal’s Independent Airline Pilots Union (SIPLA) has predicted a more complicated than normal summer operation at TAP, referring to the perennial difficulties during the peak season.
João Leão was speaking at the TAP inquiry committee which continues to send shockwaves through political circles (see below).
The union leader’s answers to questions posed by MPs centred on TAP’s ‘lack of staff’ (due to cost cutting policies), and salary cuts imposed on those that remain.
As Lusa explains, João Leão represents the pilots of Portugália, the low cost offshoot of TAP purchased in 2007.
SIPLA believes that it needs to be explained whether Portugália “is TAP 100%” or if it is to be used as a partner
When asked about constraints at Lisbon airport, he acknowledged concerns related to the allocation of boarding and disembarkation slots to other airlines, despite TAP still having most of them.
Asked specifically about Ryanair – whose president has always been scathing about TAP and the Portuguese government’s insistence in buoying the airline up ‘come what may’ , João Leão admitted low-cost airlines “are fierce competition”.
Meantime, the inconvenient truths coming out of this inquiry continue to show up ‘inconsistencies’ in previous statements by political leaders.
The head of the TAP inquiry., Jorge Seguro Sanches, is particularly upset over the fact that conversations that “should have been confidential” (for the eyes of the inquiry only) have been leaked to the press, with deeply embarrassing consequences for the government.
He has called the situation “an attack on the heart of democracy”.
The developing furore has even seen prime minister António Costa declare that if President Marcelo DOES dissolve parliament and call new elections, he will be standing again as PS Socialist leader.
Says Expresso, Marcelo is essentially “waiting to see if Costa has reached the point of no return”.