Guinean authorities have this week informed the Portuguese Government of the conclusions reached following an enquiry into the “serious security incident” which took place at Bissau Airport on 10 December, when TAP employees were forced to let 74 passengers with fake documents board flight TP202 and carry them back to Lisbon.
“The Portuguese Government reiterates that what happened – the forced boarding, through pressure and coercion by Guinean authorities upon TAP employees, of 74 passengers with admittedly false documents, onto a Portuguese aircraft bound for Lisbon – is absolutely unacceptable.
“Portugal is also still waiting for Guinean authorities to draw all the necessary conclusions and consequences of the incident, including, as announced, the accountability of those involved in the process”, a statement from Lisbon stressed.
The note further revealed that, as yet, Portugal “has not been fully assured that a similar situation will not repeat itself in future, which is an essential point in our process of re-evaluating the existence of safety conditions at Bissau Airport to reinstate the route.”
National flag-carrier TAP’s direct flight between Lisbon and Bissau – the only one connecting Europe to the Western African country – was suspended earlier this month following the incident, which at the time was described as a “serious breach of security.”
Expressing its solidarity towards the people of Guinea, who are the “first and main victims of the situation created by the Coup d’Etat of 12 April 2012 [staged by elements of the armed forces about two weeks before the second round of a presidential election in that country]”, the Portuguese Government said it hopes new elections to be held in Guinea-Bissau on 16 March 2014 take place “freely, transparently and safely.”
Pledging its continuing support of Guinea’s people, the government added: “We hope that full respect for the people’s free will allows constitutional order to be reinstated and combat the impunity that prevails in Guinea-Bissau.”
In related news, a busy Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt (Germany) to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) was forced to divert to Lisbon on 22 December after losing cabin pressure while flying over the Atlantic.
According to website Aviation Herald, the Airbus A340-300 was en-route over the Atlantic Ocean, south of the Canary Islands, when it experienced a loss of cabin pressure.
It descended to a lower altitude then diverted to Lisbon after reportedly initially setting course to return to Frankfurt.
It landed in Portugal three hours prior to its scheduled landing in Rio de Janeiro.
A replacement aircraft was dispatched to Lisbon to return the passengers to Frankfurt.