Update (Jan 24, 2023): Cabin crew at TAP Air Portugal have called off the strike after reaching an agreement with the airline, avoiding cancellation of 1,316 flights. The union still expressed its dissatisfaction and warns that it may call another walkout soon. The original article is below for reference.
TAP Air Portugal has confirmed that a planned cabin crew strike between January 25 and 31, 2023, will result in the cancelation of 1,316 flights affecting nearly 160,000 passengers.
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TAP Air Portugal Cabin Crew Strike Planned
Strikes resulting in hundreds of canceled flights seem to be a recurring theme in European aviation. In this case, the strikes will affect nearly 160,000 passengers on 1,316 affected TAP Air Portugal flights between January 25 and 31, 2023. The strikes come as negotiations between TAP and the National Union of Civil Aviation Flight Personnel (SPNVAC) over cuts on salaries and working conditions have stalled.
Unlike in the United States, European unions can call a strike with little notice and few requirements to attempt to come to an agreement first. In the U.S., aviation strikes are regulated by the Railway Labor Act which requires parties to work with the National Mediation Board to make a last-ditch effort to come to an agreement before a strike can be authorized. That’s the process Southwest Airlines pilots are starting now with their strike authorization vote.
The strike couldn’t come at a worse time for TAP. Portugal‘s flag carrier is currently going through an EU-approved 3.2 billion euro restructuring plan that includes downsizing its fleet and cutting more than 2,900 jobs while working to rationalize salaries after years of persistently failing to be profitable.
The strikes will cost the Star Alliance-member carrier about 48 million euros in revenue, with an additional loss of 20 million euros expected due to the potential impact on sales.
What TAP Air Portugal Flights Will Be Canceled?
The strikes will force TAP to cancel most domestic and international services during the strike except services to the Azores and Madeira which will be fully operated. If you’re booked on TAP during these dates, check with the airline directly or your travel agent to confirm the status of flights. Strikes can be announced or called off with short notice.
EU261 Rights for Canceled TAP Flights
TAP is drawing up a contingency plan to minimize the impact on customers, such as adjusting operations and making it easier to re-book flights and get refunds. However, it’s unlikely that TAP will be able to satisfactorily reaccommodate all passengers scheduled to travel during the strike.
Should you be one of the passengers facing disruption due to the strike, this is probably a good time to brush up on your EU261 rights. The regulation (European Regulation 261/2004) gives consumers the right to claim compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight. EU 261 has also been written into UK law. The regulation covers all flights taking off from an EU or UK airport and all flights with an EU or UK carrier.
The regulation outlines several instances, termed “extraordinary circumstances”, where airlines are not liable to pay out under EC261/2004. European courts have ruled that strikes by an airline’s own staff generally do not qualify as an extraordinary circumstance. If your flight is disrupted by TAP Air Portugal’s cabin crew strike, be sure to check your EU261 rights.
TAP Air Portugal has announced that it will experience strikes January 25-31, 2023, resulting in the cancellation of 1,316 flights and affecting nearly 160,000 passengers. If you’re booked on TAP during these dates, be sure to check to confirm if your flight is affected. Cabin crew strikes are generally not considered “extraordinary circumstances” under EU law so be sure to brush up on your EU261 rights in dealing with the inconvenience.
TAP Portugal’s upcoming strikes are causing concern among frequent flyers, with many now scrambling to make alternative travel arrangements. The strikes are the result of failed negotiations between TAP and the National Union of Civil Aviation Flight Personnel over cuts on salaries and working conditions. Passengers have the right to claim compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight under EU 261/2004. However, the rights of passengers during strikes, especially if caused by other organizations, are less clear and may require court proceedings.