Brussels’ decision comes as snub to Ryanair
Ryanair management heard today that the European Commission has awarded all 18 daily (take-off and landing) ‘slots’ ceded by TAP (due to its restructuring deal) to direct competitor easyJet.
The Irish low-cost carrier has been holding out for the slots (for months, characteristically ‘not mincing words’ or actions in the process.
A source for the company told Lusa on Monday that it was a “more reliable” contender for the slots than easyJet, albeit president Michael O’Leary was aware that Portugal and TAP didn’t see it that way.
As it transpires, neither did Brussels. The commission’s statement released this morning says it “assessed in detail the proposals received against the eligibility, evaluation and ranking criteria” of contenders, taking into account “the seat capacity that carriers could offer using the slots made available by TAP.
“easyJet has now priority to conclude with TAP Air Portugal the agreement for the slot transfer that will allow easyJet to expand its operations at Lisbon airport and offer new flights as of 30 October 2022”, the statement continues.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said the decision follows “an open procedure” and will “encourage competition in the European aviation sector, as it will enable easyJet to expand its activities at this congested airport, contributing to fair prices and increased choice for European consumers. This also helps ensure that the financial support given to TAP by Portugal to allow the carrier to return to viability has no undue negative effect on the Single Market.”
For the time being, there has been no reaction from Ryanair.