Lisbon easyJet base creates 2,000 jobs

Low-cost airline easyJet has announced the setting up of a base in Lisbon creating 2,000 jobs.

The 300 million Euro investment announced on Monday will have financial spinoffs for the company and for Portuguese entities.

The Portuguese airport management company ANA (Aeroportos de Portugal SA) will offer the Luton-based airline company cut-price airport taxes while the Government is to provide unspecified incentives in return for widening its network of routes.

The Portela airport was on a list of 57 European candidate cities competing to have the new easyJet base from which three to six planes will operate.

Carolyn McCall admitted in an interview that the selection process had been “a long one” but said that she believed in the “potential for air traffic growth in the Portuguese capital.” In practice that means a further million passengers a year and a turnover of 4.4 million Euros for the company in Portugal.

Despite admitting that there are always partners and offsets in such multi-million Euro deals, the company preferred not to go into details about its agreement with 100 per cent State-owned ANA.

During the official unveiling ceremony, which was attended by the Prime Minister José Sócrates, and various Government ministers, ANA President Guilhermino Rodrigues admitted that there had been “a long and drawn out process of negotiations in order to reach an agreement with easyJet.”

He said that there were “reduced taxes” for low-cost airlines and that easyJet which will launch its base in January or February 2011.

ANA is said to be studying a package of low airport taxes for low cost companies like easyJet and Ryanair which will be revealed by the end of the year.

It is also likely that easyJet and other low cost flights will operate out of Terminal 2 which currently caters for internal and regional flights and was opened in 2007. C.G.