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European Commission Challenged on TAP Loan

MEP and Transport and Tourism Committee member, Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar,  wrote to the European Commission (EC) this week, a letter which has been endorsed by the entire PSD (Social Democrat) delegation, asking the EC to provide answers as to why the the Government of Portugal was given the ‘green light’ to grant TAP – Air Portugal a loan totalling 1,200 million euros.

Since the conditions of the agreement and the timely intervention of the Portuguese Government in assisting the airline have not been made public, PSD deputies demand that fundamental issues such as the fair geographic distribution of routes, assurance that regular flights to and from the airports of Faro and Porto are scheduled to avoid all operations centralising at Lisbon airport are taken into account, and most importantly, that routes to and from the territorial regions of Portugal – Madeira and the Azores are safeguarded.

She went on to say, that considering the company is receiving so much financial aid, people should have access to information relating to the agreement, because at the end of the day, it is the people who will suffer, especially if the foreseen re-structuring goes ahead. This will lead to the reduction in the number routes and scheduled flights and increase ticket prices, meaning that further limits will be placed on those wanting to travel.

The European Commission approved a loan from the Portuguese State to TAP for the maximum amount of 1,200 million euros, for a term of 6 months. If the company is unable to reimburse the amount financed at the end of this period, it will have to present a restructuring plan, which may involve a reduction in the number of aircraft the airline use, deactivation of less profitable routes, unemployment and a salary reduction for senior TAP officials and administrators.

Samantha Gannon

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