The former management of the Portuguese airline Tap relied on a bold expansion strategy. With new aircraft – Airbus A330 Neo, A320 Neo and A321 Neo – and new destinations, Tap finally wanted to make it a successful airline. But then the pandemic came and it became a crisis instead.

The Portuguese state had to support the national airline with gigantic amounts from the state coffers. The total aid that she will have received by 2024 is 3.2 billion euros.

At the same time, Tap was nationalized again. The new management under Christine Ourmières-Widener is currently implementing a tough restructuring.

One measure taken by the management is the termination of a leasing contract for 50 company vehicles. They were made available to the board and management.

The new solution can save 630,000 euros per year, argues Tap in an internal statement quoted by the Lusa news agency.

Nevertheless, the step is not well received by Tap employees. It is said to be a luxury car for the managers. So far, Tap has relied on models from Peugeot, but in the future it will be X2 and X3 from BMW.

And instead of diesel, they will have a plug-in hybrid drive. They cost between 52,000 and 65,000 euros.

The leadership argues that you have to spend money first in order to save later, explains the Portuguese pilots’ union, for example. Then the same logic should be applied to working conditions.

Because the staff is currently suffering from inflation and is fighting to compensate for inflation. And a member of the Left Alliance in Parliament declared: “It is an insult to the country what the Tap board has done”.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa also made a statement. He called it “a common sense problem”. One should “try to be an example of restraint in a difficult time”.

On Thursday (October 6th), the Tap board will therefore make a U-turn. We have “understanding of the general mood in the Portuguese population,” he said in a statement. Although the chosen solution is the most cost-effective under current market conditions, the current vehicle fleet will be retained for a maximum of one year. During this time, the company will “reassess the company’s mobility policy”.

This article was written by Stefan Eiselin

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The original of this article “BMW as a company car for managers causes trouble at Portugal Airline” comes from aeroTelegraph.