TAP’s chief executive, Antonoaldo Neves, said today that the company is recruiting 44 pilots a month as part of the recruitment program, which began in July, so that by the beginning of 2019 it will be able to recruit 150/200 more.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the launch of TAP Air Portugal’s new mid-class mid-course menus in Lisbon, Antonoaldo Neves expressed confidence in the recruitment contest initiated by the company to hire 300 more pilots by the end of this year, respond to increased routes and purchase 71 new aircraft by 2025.
“TAP is recruiting 44 pilots a month and, for the first time, recruiting abroad, in Spain last week, in England this week and next week we will be in Brazil,” said the official, admitting that it is about a process “which has not been easy” and for which they have “to work hard”.
According to the manager, in the first three months of the program they have been able to recruit 150 pilots (22 every 15 days), so that more “150/200 pilots” will be hired in the next three / four months.
“And we will continue. It is a process that does not stop, because TAP will continue to grow at around 10% per year,” he said.
Regarding the recent suspension of routes in Spain, Antonoaldo Neves says that TAP preferred to “take a step back to take two.”
“Instead of operating in a difficult situation … we prefer to suspend flights and give our [White] partner time to do the replacement of pilots in the way that is needed,” he said.
According to the manager, the process of evaluating the profitability of routes is done monthly, and no further suspensions are currently foreseen.
“We are in the process of making the budget for 2019 and it is when this ends we will complete the entire program for next year,” he said.
Asked about labor relations at TAP, Antonoaldo Neves pointed out that in February the construction of social peace “for five years” was achieved “with a very great job”, which leaves him “very satisfied”.
“We have an environment of contracts and company agreements that allow us not to cancel more flights.” TAP did not cancel practically any flights in July, August, September, we had a cancellation level equal to or less than 1% cancelation, ” said.
Regarding the increase in fuel prices and the way in which the new increases may have an impact on the airline’s operation, the TAP president said that “airlines have to be able to absorb these shocks.”
“The new D320 (medium-haul) aircraft consume 20% less,” he added.
“The best way to deal with a new fuel increase is by bringing in newer aircraft. TAP is stronger and more competitive and takes firm steps towards sustainable growth,” he said.
According to data released by the company last month, TAP reported a loss of 90 million euros in the first half, compared with 54 million negative in the same period, which is attributed in part to the increase in fuel prices.
“The first half of the company was challenging due to the strong increase in fuel prices (up 36%), volatility in the currencies of TAP’s main markets and operational irregularities. Non-recurring expenses amounted to Euro 40 million and this negative impact contributed to an operating result of negative 47 million euros (compared to an operating result of negative 43 million euros in the same period of the previous year), “TAP said in a statement.
Without these non-recurring items, “the operating result would have been negative € 7 million (compared to a recurring operating result of € 59 million negative in the first half of the previous year) and the net loss would have been € 58 million to net loss of 67 million euros in the same period of 2017), “he said.