Announced by the Portuguese government as being of a humanitarian nature, the repatriation flight between Portugal and Brazil, scheduled for next Saturday (27), had one-way tickets offered for more than R $ 10,000 on the airline’s website.
A report from the Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Notícias found even higher values, up to 1,180 euros (around R $ 11,800) for the trip between Guarulhos and Lisbon. After publication, the price no longer appears on the website of TAP, which operates the flight.
In the opposite direction, the trip between Lisbon and São Paulo, scheduled for Friday (26), included one-way tickets costing around 850 euros (around R $ 5,600).
As with normal air travel, ticket prices became more expensive as available seats were exhausted. According to TAP, those who already had a corporate ticket were able to board at no additional cost.
Unlike the Portuguese authorities, the Brazilian government never qualified the trip as humanitarian, declaring in a note that it was an “extraordinary commercial flight”.
Despite complaints from passengers about the high prices, there are no more seats available on the flights. The Portuguese authorities do not rule out another repatriation action.
Travel between the two countries has been suspended since January 29 by decision of the Portuguese government.
The worsening pandemic in Portugal and concern over the variant identified in the Amazon justified the decision. The measure, which has already been extended once and may continue to be, is valid for now until March 1.
While when the border was first closed, in March 2020, most of those affected were unprepared tourists, this time, with entry for people on walks being prohibited since then, those affected are mostly migrants.
Many say they have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and no longer have the financial means to survive.
In a note, TAP denied that prices reach 1,180 euros – more than three times the usual value – for travel between Brazil and Portugal.
However, the company draws attention to the high costs associated with operating an extraordinary flight to justify the 850 euros charged to those who are in Portugal and wish to return to Brazil.
“The price was set based on when the operation for Brazil is suspended and TAP’s costs to operate an ad hoc flight. On a normal commercial flight, there are dynamic prices, which depend on the fare classes in which each passenger travels, their initial origin and their final destination. These are prices determined by “network” trips, and not point to point, in an extraordinary special operation, with a fixed price, as is the case with this flight ”, specifies the company.
“It should be noted that this rate is in line with the rates charged on other extraordinary repatriation flights that TAP has been operating since the start of the pandemic, in March of last year,” he adds.
On social networks, the Brazilians detained in Portugal and the Portuguese detained in Brazil are unhappy with the operation. Many, especially those with tickets to Azul and Latam (which also operate direct flights between the two countries), say they have no money to buy new tickets.
A WhatsApp group of more than 200 participants brings together Brazilians affected by the cancellation of flights. Several of them report that they already need the help of NGOs and religious entities to even be able to feed themselves in the country.
Portugal’s Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva was asked in parliament about the high ticket price.
“People who purchased tickets from TAP do not have to pay any additional amount. Regarding people for whom the situation does not apply [sem passagens ou com viagem por outras companhias], which must be very few, I remember that there are rules that prevent abuse, ”he said.
The Bloc de Esquerda group, the third largest in parliament, said it was unconvinced of the response and submitted a request for further information. Party deputies called the trips hyper-inflated.