Portimão-Bragança air link at risk once again

New tender has yet to be launched by government

The air link between Bragança and Portimão is at serious risk of being suspended in February.

According to SIC (Portuguese television channel), the contract for the operation of the route – which includes stops in Vila Real, Viseu and Cascais and is operated by Seven Air – expires on February 28 and so far the government has made no moves to renew it.

Explains SIC, the government should have opened an international tender to continue the public service with at least six months’ notice, but now, with just two months to go before the current concession ends, the tender has yet to be launched.

“As a result, the regional air service is at risk of being suspended,” it reports.

The government pays the operator €2.5 million per year to run the route with reduced fares. However, Seven Air, the sole bidder in recent tenders, has confirmed it is not willing to maintain the service at the current rates, citing rising fuel prices as one of the reasons.

This year, the air link between Bragança and Portimão has already transported about 13,000 passengers, meaning around 75% of the available seats were occupied.

SIC says it contacted the Ministry of Infrastructure but has not received a response.

This is not the first time that the route has faces similar issues.

By Michael Bruxo

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