This week Irish low-cost airline Ryanair announced it will be starting a number of flights from Portugal’s capital city, in November.
From November it will operate four new routes, to the UK, Belgium, France and Germany.
Until now the airline had only operated from Portugal’s smaller airports in the Algarve and Porto.
This latest development was announced in Lisbon on Monday this week by Ryanair’s executive vice-president Michael Cawley in a press conference held at the Radisson Blu Hotel.
“At the start of November we will be launching four new routes to airports that were not served: Stansted (London), Charleroi (Brussels), Beauvais (Paris) and Hahn (Frankfurt)”, he said.
There has long been speculation as to whether the airline would launch routes to and from Lisbon and whether it had its eye on Portela as its next base.
The airline has maintained that its door is always open to negotiations with airports.
However, in a press release issued a day after the announcement was made, national airport management company ANA stressed that Ryanair’s new operations were “not the object of any negotiation with ANA - Aeroportos de Portugal, SA and will be regulated by the general conditions applicable to any other airline at Lisbon Airport.”
“The attribution of slots at coordinated airports, as is the case of Lisbon, Porto and Faro, is decided by an independent commission, although still within ANA’s judicial sphere, which acts in accordance to international rules and regulations and airport management entities do not have the legitimacy to interfere in this attribution or discriminate – positively or negatively – any airline”, ANA explained.
Ryanair’s relationship with Lisbon went through a turbulent patch earlier this year after Ryanair accused the national tourist board of turning down an opportunity to combat seasonality in the Algarve when it declined to finance a winter programme the airline had proposed.
Michael Cawley also had a pop at national airline TAP, saying that with the new flights “Portuguese consumers/tourists will be able to escape the recession and dodge TAP’s high fares and fuel surcharges, swapping them for Ryanair’s low fares and no fuel surcharges.”
The airline estimates its new operations at Lisbon, a total of fifty flights a week, will generate an extra 400,000 passengers per year and will create 400 jobs.