TAP Air Portugal, the state-owned flag carrier, owes refunds to hundreds of passengers after thousands of cancelled flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic and staff shortages.
Passengers affected by such developments have reported they have struggled to get in touch with the airline to ask for refunds for their cancelled flights. In contrast, according to reports, the air carrier has reported difficulties in issuing the rebates.
As many TAP customers have been reporting, they are still waiting for full refunds after months of trying to contact the airlines via phone calls, emails and other ways. Some were told they would get a full refund on their lost flight in the next one to three months, but those funds have yet to arrive.
This situation is common among all international carriers, as the COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected the aviation industry. However, to the US Department of Transportation, the Portuguese flag carrier received the most consumer complaints on the matter.
Furthermore, under existing European Union rules, an airline must either credit for a cancelled flight or offer a full refund, regardless of the cancellation.
However, although TAP Air Portugal has failed to reimburse all its customers on time, the Portuguese flag carrier is still estimated by Airline Ratings to be the safest airline in Europe and the fifth safest globally.
TAP Air Portugal, which has reported a total of €1.6 billion in losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, is hoping for strong demand from travellers from the United States this summer.
The carrier will offer more than 1,230 flights per week on its network of destinations, including seven airports in Portugal, ten in North America, 12 in Central and South America, 20 in Africa and the Middle East and 44 in Europe.
The flag carrier, which is 72.5 per cent controlled by the Portuguese state, is under a Brussels-approved rescue scheme worth €3.2 billion was pushed to reduce its fleet size, cut more than 2,900 workers and reduce wages.