TAP To Liquidate Brazilian MRO Unit; 500 Employees Affected
TAP Group will close its Maintenance and Engineering Brazil (TAP ME) operations as part of a restructuring plan approved by the European Commission (EC) on Dec. 21, 2021.
The EC has approved €2.55 billion ($2.92 billion) of financial aid for the Portuguese government to help TAP Portugal and its parent group return to viability. The carrier must concede up to 18 slots at Lisbon airport per day to a competitor. Other imposed conditions include the separation of non-essential assets, especially the MRO unit in Brazil.
TAP ME was established in 2009 and provides maintenance and repair services for jet and turboprop aircraft. It is headquartered at Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport (GIG). As part of the liquidation process, the MRO unit has been instructed to carry out already contracted or in-progress maintenance services on aircraft, and to not accept any new orders for maintenance services. Only upon completion of the ongoing maintenance services or of those already contacted will TAP ME cease its activities.
“After an in-depth analysis and many studies, TAP decided to close Maintenance & Engineering in Brazil and will gradually close the operation in Brazil,” TAP CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener told Portugal’s Lusa News agency.
The decision involves 500 employees. Discussions with unions in Brazil have already started, including consultations with TAP ME’s clients. Ourmières-Widener added that some attempts were made to sell the maintenance unit in Brazil in 2021, “but they were not successful.”
The closure of the MRO unit, however, does not interfere with TAP’s passenger air transport operations in the country. Brazil is historically TAP’s main overseas market and represents between 25% and 30% of the Star Alliance member’s revenue. TAP flies to 11 destinations in Brazil and is expected to increase its weekly flights to the country from TAP’s Lisbon hub and from Porto, Portugal.