Portugal flights disrupted in the second day of airports strike

A 48-hour strike by airport workers in Portugal has resulted in the cancellation of nearly 600 flights in two days, beginning July 17, 2021. As stranded passengers attempted to reschedule their travel plans, long lineups formed.

Hundreds of flights were canceled in Portugal over the weekend due to a strike announced by the Union of Airport Handling Technicians (STHA). The strike began on Saturday, with roughly 260 flights canceled, followed by another 327 on Sunday. The strike over salary conditions is expected to run until Sunday.

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Portugal flights disrupted
Passengers queue at Lisbon airport : Photo from Euronews

According to an official source from ANA, the entity responsible for Portugal’s airports. Out of 511 flights scheduled for Sunday, 301 were canceled at the Lisbon airport, and 26 were canceled at the Porto airport. According to the Portuguese airport authority, two hundred sixty flights were canceled on July 17, 2021, and 327 on July 18, 2021, at Portugal’s two main airports, Lisbon (LIS) and Porto (OPO) ANA. Unions have also called for strikes at the airports of Porto, Faro, Funchal, and Porto Santo.

The strike primarily impacts the functioning of Lisbon airport and has little influence on the remaining 9 Portuguese airports. Porto airport is the second most affected by the strike after Lisbon, with 45.2 percent of workers present, followed by Funchal (31.6 percent) and Faro (31.6 percent) (31.6 percent). The activity in Porto Santo, according to the firm, was not hampered.

“We expect challenges tomorrow, with a gradual return to normal on Monday,” Ligonnière told reporters.

On the second day of the strike, 81.3 percent of workers in Lisbon did not show up for work, according to an official source at the airport support agency. Due to the handling service strike, the ANA advises passengers with canceled flights not to travel to Lisbon airport. Instead, they should look for information through other means, such as the internet and the telephone.

On Sunday, a business representative revealed that some airlines have opted to postpone the whole operation scheduled for that day; only 200 of the 511 flights booked for the Portuguese capital are expected to take place.

The airline notified the strike-through email, saying that customers had been offered alternatives.

TAP Air Portugal Marketing and Sales employee Fernanda Ottavio commented, “Due to this disruption, the phone lines at the Call Center are overcrowded, and I would suggest that the best choice is to check the flight status on our website and to check their booking under My Trips.” “This scenario is also addressed on a dedicated page on the website.”

The Union of Airport Handling Technicians (STHA) called the walkout in reaction to Groundforce workers. Groundforce workers have been experiencing “unsustainable volatility” over timely payment of wages and other monetary components since February 2021, according to the Union of Airport Handling Technicians (STHA).

TAP offered to lend Groundforce the money it needed to pay its employees’ holiday wages, but the handling business turned down the offer. The Pasogal Group (50.1%) and the TAP Group (49.9%) were taken over by the Portuguese government in 2020, own Groundforce.

TAP alleges it owes Groundforce 12 million euros ($14.17 million) for earlier services, but Groundforce claims it owes TAP nothing. The strike is part of a long-running financial dispute between Groundforce and TAP Air Portugal, Portugal’s flag carrier, which is suffering from flight cancellations.

For the sustainability of the flights, and as other ground-handling companies were not on strike, several airlines could continue operating flights. Low-cost carriers operating out of Lisbon’s Terminal 2 were the least affected by the current scenario.

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