July 24, 2021

Nearly 300 flights canceled due to Groundforce strike and Sunday could get worse

Sunday there will be no minimum services and the confusion could be even worse, as warned by the chairman of the ANA executive committee.

“Due to the strike in the services of handling Groundforce, so far, 107 arrivals and 135 departures have been cancelled at Lisbon airport”, said an official source from the infrastructure manager.

Nine arrivals and nine departures at Porto Airport, three arrivals and three departures at Faro Airport, two arrivals and two departures at Madeira Airport and also two arrivals and two departures at Porto Santo Airport were also cancelled.

TAP talks about millions of euros of losses.

Groundforce challenges TAP

Groundforce stated that today’s strike by its workers led to the cancellation of more than 300 flights and challenged TAP to pay the company “what is owed to it for the services rendered”.

“Groundforce is not indifferent to the inconvenience caused by this strike and reiterates that it would be enough for TAP to pay the amount owed for the services already provided by Groundforce for the salaries to be regularized”, said the company of handling in a statement.

“The debtor is TAP, which, in total, already owes 12 million euros of invoices issued”, added Groundforce, which guaranteed that, this morning, it sent a letter to the air carrier “giving the his agreement that the transfer of five million euros be made, as an advance, and the strike suspended.”

ANA asks passengers with flights scheduled for Sunday to inform themselves about their status before traveling to the airport.

No informations

Despite the appeals, passengers with canceled flights went this Saturday to the airport and complained about the lack of information from the airlines. Amid despair, they demanded solutions.

One of the issues most raised by passengers at the airport is the covid-19 tests required of travelers. Carlos, at the airport since 5:00 am to catch a Lufthansa flight to Oslo, Norway, which will only take place on Monday, told Lusa that the validity of his test was almost over.

“The test will run out soon, now I have to find out when I’m going to take the other test. I have to pay 100 euros, I’ve already paid 100 euros and now I’ll have to pay another 100. No one is responsible? Nobody. I have to work on Monday and I won’t be on time,” he lamented.

TAP announced that it will open the PCR testing laboratories at dawn on Sunday, from 4:00 am, to respond to the loss of validity of the certificates. You will also pay up to 80 euros per night for those who have to rent a hotel room to stay overnight in Lisbon.

The loss of connections to other flights is another criticism, as is the lack of alternatives.

The Portuguese handball team and other Olympic athletes were caught up in the mess early in the morning. They ended up having to travel by bus.

The Portuguese Olympic Committee in a statement announced that, “in the wake of the constraints foreseen for tomorrow, July 18, at national airports, all athletes’ matches scheduled for this Sunday will be cancelled.”

“The athletes are scheduled to start on July 19, and in due course we will send the new flight schedules,” he added.

next stoppages

The Union of Airport Handling Technicians (STHA) called the strike as a protest for the “unsustainable unstable situation, with regard to the timely payment of salaries and other pecuniary components” that Groundforce workers have faced since February 2021.

The take-up at Humberto Delgado airports in Lisbon and Sá Carneiro in Porto is close to 100%.

Only flights from “flag companies” such as TAP are being affected.

The strike will last for the 18th and 31st of July, 1st and 2nd of August, which led ANA to warn of constraints at national airports, cancellations and delays on flights assisted by Groundforce, at the airports of Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal and Porto Santo.

In addition to this strike, since July 15th, Groundforce workers are also carrying out an overtime strike, which lasts until midnight on October 31st, 2021.

Groundforce is 50.1% owned by Pasogal and 49.9% by the TAP group, which, in 2020, became 72.5% owned by the Portuguese State.

Last July 9th, Portuguese airports also experienced hours of chaos, due to the strike by the Foreign and Border Services.

With Lusa