Bragança-Portimão air link attracts only one charter company

Portimão charter company Aerovip has been confirmed as the only one bidding to run the Portimão-Bragança air link which the government hopes to have up and running by this summer.

According to Lusa news agency, Aerovip is now waiting for the go-ahead from the Court of Auditors before adding this service to its portfolio.

Tickets for the route, which includes stops in Cascais, Viseu and Vila Real, will vary between €32 and €148 – depending on destinations.

The link will boast two daily flights during the summer and one during the winter, every day except Sundays.

Talking about the link during a recent visit to Bragança, Portuguese prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho said: “I hope this link will be working (in the summer) and that people from all these regions will finally have the chance to enjoy a much-needed route.”

If planes do start to fly within the next few months, it will be the resurrection of a link that was suspended in 2012, when the EU decided it was no longer economically viable due to improved road conditions.

The route operated for a little over €2.5 million per year for 15 years. The way it was set up meant that the more passengers carried on flights, the less money the state paid operators, and thus the service rarely broke even.

This time round, the government says the route is “a question of public interest”.

It will be ploughing around €7.8 million into the service in a three-year subsidy plan very similar to the initial one.