Bargain-basement airline Ryanair is the first low-cost company to sign up to use the Lajes military airbase, on the island of Terceira in the Azores.
After years of uncertainty over what would happen when the Americans started downsizing their military presence on the island, new ideas are ensuring that Lajes remains in operation.
Earlier this summer, national media hinted that it would start to be used by space programmes to launch satellites, while yesterday an agreement between the regional government and Portugal’s ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs opened the way for commercial companies to using the base.
Ryanair is the first to have shown interest, and will be running winter flights from October 30, writes Correio da Manhã.
The development follows the visit to the Azores in April by prime minister António Costa, says the paper, which stresses that official certification of the base as an airport taking civilian craft will not be completed before 2018.