TAP to cede slots

 In Aviation, News, TAP

Portugal’s national carrier TAP has accepted to abandon around a dozen flight slots at Lisbon international airport.

It has done so at the insistence of the government in order to meet new demands from the European Commission in exchange from the commission’s approval of a restructuring plan which will avoid the winding up of the airline.
The slots, which are all important for an airline, are extremely valuable commodities with peak hour slots selling for up to €75 million at the main airports in the world.
The Portuguese Government had until 19 August to reply to a letter from the European Commission in which it has to justify why the EU should allow the airline’s restructuring plan to be waived through.
Other competing airline companies can also give opinions about the restricting plan during this period and Ryanair is one such airline that is demanding that the publicly owned airline should abdicate some of its slots.
TAP’a restructuring plan which involves an injection of public money which could amount to €3.75Bn demands the redundancy of one-quarter of the staff, a reduction in fleet from 108 aircraft to 88 and losing several routes.
But regarding the peak hour slots, the Government wants these cuts to be at a minimum possible and this has been a stumbling block in the negotiations.
In a letter to the Portuguese Government which lays out arguments for a through investigation, the European Commission pointed to “a lack of commitment regarding the abdication of slots at Lisbon given the high level of congestion at this airport and the high percentage of lots held by TAP (50%-60%”.
The Government has now formally accepted a commitment to relinquish around a dizen slots and it now remains to be seen which of these ‘gold dust’ slots and routes the airline is prepared to lose in return for taxpayers money.