"In order to facilitate the process and avoid the inconvenience caused by these cancellations as much as possible (...) passengers for whom TAP has contacts will receive a message from the airline informing them of the new flight and, if they wish to make any changes to the solution found by TAP, they can simply follow the link in the same message to do so, online," a response sent to Lusa news agency said.
The Portuguese airline also said that if the ticket for a cancelled flight had been booked through a travel agency, passengers should contact the agency so that the flight can be rebooked.
TAP has recorded dozens of flight cancellations due to staff shortages, in isolation due to Covid-19, a situation that is repeated all over the world in the aviation sector.
In its response to Lusa, the airline also stressed that the new variant of Covid-19 Ómicron is forcing the company to "adjust its operation to cope with a peak of crew absenteeism" which has "led to the cancellation of some flights, with passengers being accommodated on other TAP or partner company flights".
"TAP tries to cancel flights that may be affected by the lack of crew availability as soon as possible and immediately protects passengers on other flights," it added.
TAP has asked cabin crew chiefs to voluntarily fill less senior, flight attendant roles to cope with the problems generated by Covid-19, which has put many professionals in isolation, according to an internal document released on 3 January.
The National Civil Aviation Flight Staff Union (SNPVAC) criticised TAP's call for crew members to take less senior roles and suggested reinstating normal working hours to address staffing difficulties.
In an internal message, to which Lusa had access, the SNPVAC said it had alerted the company "that there are other measures to address the operating difficulties, namely the replacement of the normal working period to 100%, thus also increasing the crew members' income".
The Civil Aviation Pilots Union (SPAC) said on 5 January that it "views the cancellation of numerous TAP flights in recent weeks with apprehension" and said that this reflects a "mismatch" between the staff and the needs.
In the information released, following a meeting organised by the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, with representatives of unions from the TAP universe, the SPAC stressed "that the recovery of demand in the sector suggests a peak season in 2022 comparable to pre-pandemic years.