“If we look at November 2020, TAP reduced its capacity by 71 percent, compared to November 2019”, said Ramiro Sequeira, in the letter to which Lusa had access, which gives an account of the disclosure of the third operational factsheet (document with operational information), which TAP started making available in October, with updated information on the pandemic and projections and studies on the industry worldwide, as well as the respective impact on its operation.

In the same period, “TAP reduced the number of flights by 72 percent”, he added. For the first nine months of the year, the main indicators - number of passengers and flights, capacity, load factor (ratio between a specific load and the total weight of the aircraft), 'block hours' (unit of measurement used in aviation) and revenue per passenger - fell between 63 percent and 70 percent, compared to the same period last year.

“This report confirms the reversal of the recovery that occurred in the third quarter of this year, following the imposition of new restrictions on travel and the second wave of the pandemic, as well as highlighting the impact of the evolution of the pandemic, of the impositions and restrictions on the mobility of passengers and demand behaviour in TAP's operating performance ”, reads the letter sent to workers.

The airline's executive president also recalled that the recovery “will be slow and very determined by the level of confidence”, pointing out that the projections of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicate that the recovery of demand to 90 percent or more of the 2019 levels in the relevant TAP markets, even with the vaccine, will only happen between 2024 and 2025, with an estimated 50 percent recovery in operation in 2021, compared to 2019. "However, if the recovery takes place earlier than expected, we will have the capacity to respond to it, since we are scaled to the level of demand forecast for 2022, as foreseen in the restructuring plan", said Ramiro Sequeira.

Regarding the discovery of a new strain of the new coronavirus in the United Kingdom, which has caused the suspension of flights and additional restrictions by several countries in the world, including Portugal, the Executive Chairman considered that this is the context in which TAP has been operating and will face in the coming months.

As for cargo transportation, the official said that, since the beginning of the year, “TAP has already carried out nearly 300 flights exclusively dedicated to air cargo, to about 30 different destinations, on five continents”. "With four aircraft converted into freighters, two of them with livery TAP Air Cargo, it is evident that the cargo business has had and will continue to have a relevant role in the response and recovery to TAP", he pointed out.

The operating and financial results for the last quarter of this year are expected "with great apprehension and concern", despite the Christmas and New Year's Eve period, as well as those of the first quarter of 2021, "typically a challenging quarter for the aviation sector , but particularly in the current context severely affected by the negative impact of covid-19 ”.

Regarding the timetable for the implementation of the restructuring plan that the airline will be targeting, Ramiro Sequeira said that the dialogue continues “with all the workers' representative entities” and that “progressively all areas” are being involved. "Once again, we ensure that we have all the details defined, they will be communicated to the entire organisation at the beginning of 2021", he assured.