Algarve’s PCP communist party believes the privatisation of ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal, which also operates Faro Airport, will be “tragic” for the country’s interests and will mean new “dangers” on the horizon for the region.
“This is a tragic decision for the country’s interests and it is also severe for the Algarve, because its main economic activity is linked to tourism. The Algarve deeply depends on Faro Airport,” says the PCP Algarve in a statement to the press.
As reported in last week’s Algarve Resident, the government, in a Council of Ministers meeting, agreed to sell 95% of ANA, which manages 10 airports in mainland Portugal and on the islands, to French group Vinci.
In the statement, the PCP says Faro Airport “will be exclusively subordinated to the interests of the economic group that intends to acquire it”.
PCP Algarve points to the recently-announced “brutal” increase of airport fees at Lisbon Airport as “an example of the dangers that this option includes”.
The Communists also stated that “hundreds of workers from Faro Airport can lose their jobs”, as in privatisation processes workers’ rights, jobs and salaries are often at risk.
Meanwhile, offering a different opinion, the Algarve Tourism Board expects that the Algarve’s interests will be upheld during the privatisation process. “The airport serves Portugal’s largest tourist destination and should therefore deserve the special attention of the French winning group which has acquired ANA,” said Desidério Silva, President of the Algarve Tourism Board.
“Faro International Airport is one of the ‘stars’ among Portugal’s national airports, so we expect that the specific interests of the Algarve continue to be safeguarded, particularly as airport fees are about to undergo changes this year, “said Desidério Silva.
Desidério Silva expects that the number of passengers in Faro airport will continue to increase this year. Figures from 2011 revealed that 5.6 million passengers used the Algarve airport facility.
It is not quite clear, for now, if this decision will be a safe and wise step for the Algarve. Only time will tell.