Alexandra Reis started working for Tap in autumn 2017. She was Head of Purchasing and Procurement at the Portuguese airline for more than three years. The manager then moved into the company’s board of directors, responsible for various areas, including finance, human resources and digitization. In February 2022 she left Tap again.

The fact that there was a gap in Reis’ CV from March to June did not harm her career in any way. In July she became head of the national air traffic control Nav Portugal. And in December she moved to the Portuguese Ministry of Finance as State Secretary. But then her past caught up with her.

Shortly after her move into administration, the newspaper “Correio da Manhã” revealed that Reis had received a severance payment of 500,000 euros for her departure from Tap. Because her contract would have been valid for two more years. The sum alone caused excitement.

Because the airline, which is now state-controlled, had to be rescued by the state with billions of euros during the Corona crisis, parted with employees and shrank the fleet. It is far from being in the black again. And the cabin crew are on strike for more money and better working conditions.

Once the information about the severance payment was known, further details became public. For example, that Reis had actually asked for a severance payment of 1.48 million euros. That Tap’s communication in February 2022 was worded as if the manager was leaving of her own free will (and therefore not entitled to severance pay), but in fact the airline wanted to get rid of her and therefore entered into severance negotiations with her. And that the 500,000 euros were approved by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure.

The consequences were and are immense: Reis had to resign from her new position in the Ministry of Finance. Infrastructure Minister Pedro Nuno Santos and his Secretary of State resigned. And that’s not the end of the matter.

This week, Tap boss Christine Ourmières-Widener was questioned by a parliamentary committee on the matter. In addition, the Court of Auditors is closely examining Tap in this matter. The opposition has also strongly criticized the hiring practices at Nav Portugal and in the ministries of the socialist government.

This article was written by Timo Nowack

The original of this article “Tap scandal rocks Portugal” comes from aeroTelegraph.