Low cost airline bosses describe plan as “Christmas presents for Portugal”
Ryanair has announced today that it is opening 18 new routes in Portugal next summer, from Porto and Faro, welcoming the decision by civil aviation regulators to force airports operator ANA to reduce its charges.
In a virtual press conference, Ryanair’s executive chairmen Michael O’Leary, and CEO Eddie Wilson announced “Christmas presents for Portugal”.
The plan involves seven new routes from Faro, and 11 from Porto.
According to both men, the decision came “in direct response to the intervention of ANAC (Portugal’s Civil Aviation Authority), which forced ANA to reduce airport charges in Porto and Faro next year”.
Thus, Ryanair can ‘afford’ to run two more aircraft at each of those airports.
According to the carrier, the decision represents an additional investment of €400 million in Portugal and the creation of 120 new local jobs.
The Irish low-cost airline “lamented” however, that the regulator “has not been able to persuade ANA to lower charges at other airports,” and so “there will be no additional growth in Lisbon, Madeira or the Azores” in 2023.
“Lisbon has gone up an unbelievable 12%, we have to reverse this rise, as in Porto and Faro. Lower rates lead to more planes, more jobs, more connectivity and more tourism,” said Eddie Wilson.
From Faro, Ryanair will also fly to Aarhus (Denmark), Belfast (Northern Ireland), Exeter (England), Frankfurt Hahn (Germany), Rome Fiumicino (Italy) and Toulouse (France).
From Porto, new routes will open to Bristol, Leeds (England), Castellon (Spain), Maastricht (Netherlands), Nimes, Strasbourg (France), Shannon (Ireland), Stockholm (Sweden), Trapani, Turin (Italy) and Wroclaw (Poland).
“In addition to excessive charges, another threat to the growth of tourism in Portugal comes in the form of ETS (environmental charges), which unfairly target short-haul flights, with a recent proposal to include the outermost regions of the European Union, including Madeira, as early as 2024,” said Michael O’Leary.
For the airline boss, if this measure is approved, “tourists will face higher costs when visiting Madeira, in relation to other non-European holiday destinations, which means that the island will probably lose visitors to destinations outside the EU, such as Morocco, Turkey and Jordan, which are exempt from paying ETS”.