Bragança-Portimão air link opens on June 1

Bragança-Portimão air link could open on June 1

Flights connecting Portimão to Bragança in the north of Portugal could be running as soon as June 1.

The air link – which includes stops in Cascais, Viseu and Vila Real – has been given the final thumbs up it needed from the European Union and now all that is needed is an airline to run it (see story

A tender for the air link was published on December 24 in the Official Journal of the European Union, which means that the company that will operate the route may not be Portuguese. The concession will be for three years.

As we reported last week, Portimão aerodrome has received the level 5 rating it needs from the National Civil Aviation Institute to take part in the route, which will be used for small scale operations.

Last month, the Portuguese government announced that it would be ploughing around €7.8 million into the route per year.

As Lusa explained at the time, the plan is similar to the one behind the loss-making Bragança-Lisbon service, suspended in 2012.

The route operated for a little over €2.5 million per year for 15 years. The way it was set up, the more passengers flights had the less money the state paid – but it almost never broke even.

Thus in November 2012, the EU called a halt to the scheme claiming it was no longer justifiable due to improved road connections.

The government has always maintained that the air link is “a question of public interest”.