Irish low-cost airline Ryanair announced that it is trying to find a solution to the Faro Airport expansion plan, which aims to increase winter flights and boost the number of off-season visitors but was allegedly rejected by the Portuguese tourism board.
“We are working to solve the problem,” said Michael Cawley, the executive vice-president of the airline, during a press conference in Lisbon.
Without providing details, he said that the Algarve is dependent on the success of Faro Airport and that the main challenge is to make the region an all-year-round destination.
Ryanair planned to introduce three new winter routes from Cologne, Dortmund and Memmingen, Germany, consequently increasing weekly flights by 35% from 68 to 92 and increasing Faro airport’s traffic by 70,000 passengers from 1.70 million to 1.77 million but claimed Turismo de Portugal rejected the proposal.
The tourism board refuted claims that the airline’s proposal was turned down and added that Turismo de Portugal did not have the authority to decide on such a matter and that the doors were left open for Ryanair to invest in its Faro routes.
However, the board admitted refusing to pay the airline the amount of money requested to strengthen its presence in the Algarve, considering it “disproportionate” to the plan’s real value.
An intense verbal battle broke out between the two entities and the proposal seemed to be doomed to oblivion but there may now be new hope for the airline’s plan. Also see ‘Ryanair slams tourism board’, July 26 edition of the Algarve Resident.
Ryanair in Lisbon
Ryanair announced this week that it will be launching routes from the Portela Airport in Lisbon to Stansted (London), Charleroi (Brussels), Beauvais (Paris) and Hahn (Frankfurt). The flights are set to start in November. The news came from the executive vice president of the company Michael Cawley during a press conference in Lisbon. These routes are expected to create 400 jobs in Lisbon.