Ryanair threatens to close Madeira base over airport charges

Future of Ryanair base in Madeira at risk due to ANA’s proposal

Irish low-cost airline Ryanair has threatened that it may be forced to close its base in Madeira due a proposal by Portuguese airport authority ANA to increase airport charges by up to 18% from 2024.

“ANA, operated by French airport concession company VINCI, is seeking excessive and unjustified charge increases throughout Portugal, including Lisbon (+18%), Porto (+13%), Faro (+12%), the Azores (+8%) and Madeira (+9%), which will have a hugely detrimental impact on Portugal’s connectivity, tourism and jobs, especially for island economies,” the airline says in a statement.

It adds that “there is no justification for these excessive price increases on top of ANA’s already high airport charges.

“This excessive proposal from ANA, who face no competition in Portugal, is the exact opposite of what Portuguese airports need – particularly those in Madeira and the Azores where they depend on low airport charges to drive vital connectivity and tourism,” the airline claims.

“Astonishingly, rather than seeking to lower access costs for the islands, ANA is intent on making access even more expensive by increasing charges in Madeira and the Azores, on top of the excessive increases applied last year, irreparably damaging the competitiveness of Madeira and the Azores,” Ryanair says.

Ryanair was already forced to close its Azores base following ANA’s previous charge increases, and the airline is now calling on ANA to lower airport charges to prevent the same fate for Madeira, ensuring air connectivity remains sustainable in Portugal’s peripheral regions,” it states.

Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson reiterated the airline’s complaints, defending that there is “no justification” for such an increase in airport charges.

The monopoly airport concessionaire is only seeking higher charges, on top of already high charges, at the expense of Portuguese tourism, connectivity and local employment – particularly for the outermost island regions, including Madeira and the Azores who depend on connectivity for their economies to survive,” he says.

“ANA should be following its European counterparts and lowering charges to help stimulate traffic and tourism. Instead, ANA is irreparably damaging Portugal’s competitiveness with this excessive and unjustified 18% increase in charges, which will do nothing but drive-away much-needed inbound tourism,” Wilson states.

“We call on ANAC to urgently intervene and protect Portugal’s passengers and island-economies from ANA’s excessive monopoly pricing before it’s too late,” he adds.

By Michael Bruxo

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