TAP’s president given short shrift by government after disappointing Q1 results

 In Aviation, News, TAP

The President of Portuguese national carrier TAP Air Portugal Luís Rodrigues was sent away with a flea in his ear by the government after telling the Financial Times that he would prefer the Portuguese State to continue to have a significant voice at the table as a shareholder post privatisation.

After posting a disappointing loss of €71.9 million for the first quarter of the year — worse figures than the like-for-like loss of €57.4 million in Q1, 2023 – Luís Rodrigues is to be hauled over the coals at a cross-party parliamentary grilling to explain the airline’s bad performance in both Q3 2023 and Q1 this year.
The figures are a letdown because for 2023 overall the airline, which is earmarked for privatisation in 2025, posted a record profit of €177.3million, but posted a loss of €26.2 million in the last quarter of 2023.
On Wednesday, Portuguese MPs who make up the parliamentary commission for the Economy, Public Works and Housing unanimously approved a motion from right-wing party Chega for a hearing so that Luís Rodrigues, and TAP’s financial officer, Gonçalo Pires can explain the Q4 2023 and Q1 2024 losses.
And in reaction to the TAP CEO’s president that the State should maintain a share in the airline to ensure routes to Madeira and the Azores were maintained should the airline be sold on after privatisation, the minister of Infrastructure, Miguel Pinto Luz said: “I agree that the President of TAP should focus on managing TAP and not poke his nose into problems that are for the TAP shareholder”. (I.e., the government to deal with)
“The president of TAP should focus on managing TAP and TAP really does need sound management, and right now everyone needs to play their part”, he said as he left a meeting in Brussels.
Luís Rodrigues, whose term at the joystick at TAP ends at the end of this year, said in the Financial Times article this week that the Portuguese State should attract investors from outside the aviation sector.
“My recommendation is that the Portuguese government should have a stake and be part of the entire airline’s development process,” he said in the interview published on Tuesday.
Luís Rodrigues, who prior to taking up his position at TAP in April 2023, led the Azores airline SATA. When he took over TAP a parliamentary enquiry was in full swing into the way the airline was being managed after a director, who was at odds with ex-TAP president, Christine Ourmières-Widener over policy at the company, was given a €500,000 golden handshake that resulted in the CEO being unceremoniously dismissed by the previous PS socialist government. Humiliated the French ex-CEO is now seeking a six figure sum in damages for loss of reputation while the director who resigned had to return the money she legally had no right to.