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TAP Air Portugal furloughs most of its staff

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TAP Air Portugal Airbus A321LR, © TAP

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LISBON - Portugal`s flag carrier TAP Air Portugal will temporarily lay off around 90% of its employees because of the coronavirus crisis that led to a collapse in demand for travel, according to an email sent by the airline to staff on Tuesday and seen by Reuters.

From April 1 to at least May 4, TAP will only use its fleet to repatriate citizens, transport medical supplies and operate flights to the Portuguese islands of Azores and Madeira, the company said in the email. All other flights will be suspended.

"The situation has been aggravated by the increasing restrictions on air traffic already imposed by more than a hundred states and the very sharp drop in demand, so TAP is forced to stop its activity almost completely," said TAP, which has more than 10,000 workers.

Employees affected by the 30-day long measure will receive two-thirds of their monthly salaries, TAP said.

The 10% of remaining workers will receive 80% of their monthly salaries due to reduced working hours. TAP's executive and non-executive directors voluntarily proposed a further 35% reduction in their salaries.

TAP was partially privatised in 2015 and the state still holds a 50% stake. Private consortium Atlantic Gateway, led by Brazilian-U.S. airline entrepreneur David Neeleman, has a 45% stake. TAP employees hold the remaining 5%.

Earlier this month TAP said it ended last year with its best ever cash position despite posting a net loss of 106 million euros. It had also reduced operating costs and slashed this year's debt repayments by 70% after recent renegotiation and extension of debt maturities.

Reports in the German media last month said Lufthansa and United Airlines were considering taking over TAP. Portugal has reported 7,443 coronavirus cases, with 160 deaths, far lower than other hard-hit southern European nations such as Italy and neighbouring Spain.
© Reuters, aero.uk | Abb.: Airbus | 01.04.2020 07:56


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