Ryanair cuts flights to Madeira, Porto and Faro “due to airport taxes”

ANA airports authority dubs decision “regrettable”

Portuguese airports manager ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal has regretted the fact that Ryanair is “using the argument of updated airport taxes to reduce the number of flights in Madeira, Porto and Faro”.

According to ANA, Ryanair has been reducing the number of flights to Portuguese airports for the last three years.

“In reality, the average rates proposed for 2024 are lower than those for 2019,” the company has says a statement sent to Lusa.

ANA was reacting to the statements made by Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, who announced the reduction of one aircraft in Madeira and a decrease in traffic in Porto and Faro ‘due to the increase in airport taxes’.

He also mentioned that the airline’s base in Madeira benefits from ANA’s incentive programme, which was “a significant investment”.

ANA considers Madeira to be “one of the tourist destinations with the greatest potential for development in Europe”, having recorded growth of 10% in the summer of 2023, compared to the same period the previous year.

Airlines such as easyJet, Wizzair, Azores Airlines and Condor contributed to this indicator, the airport manager adds.

ANA also emphasises that, despite the announcement that airport taxes will be updated from January 2024, “several companies are showing great interest in continuing to develop connectivity in Madeira”.

SATA (Boston and Toronto), easyJet (Geneve and Basel), Jet2 (Liverpool and Belfast) and Wizzair (Rome) are just some that have already confirmed new routes for next summer 2024.

Says Lusa, “ANA points out that this is happening at a time when, according to a recent statement by ACI (Airport International Council) Europe, the increase in fares charged by airlines in Europe is more than 38% in the summer months (3rd quarter)”.

Portuguese airports are among the fastest growing in Europe, ANA goes on, stressing that the proceeds of its airport charges are used to finance safety, operational efficiency and airport capacity and comfort.

Nonetheless, Ryanair’s commercial director, Jason McGuiness, met with the president of the regional government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, today – and spoke of his commitment to “work together” to combat the problems that this decision may represent for Madeira’s tourism and economy.

Says Lusa, In addition to reducing the number of planes at its Madeira base from two to one, Ryanair has decided to reduce its connections to Madeira from 10 to seven, cancelling the Marseille, Nuremberg and Bégamo routes.

Source material: LUSA