In a virtual press conference, the executive presidents of the Ryanair group, Michael O'Leary, and of the airline, Eddie Wilson, announced “Christmas gifts for Portugal”, with the opening of seven new routes from Faro and 11 from Porto, next year.
The decision came “in direct response to the intervention of National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC), which forced ANA to reduce airport fees in Porto and Faro, next year”.
Thus, each of the airports will have two more planes from the low-cost carrier.
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 airline regretted, however, that the regulator “has not been able to persuade ANA to lower fees at other airports” and, therefore, “there will be no additional growth in Lisbon, Madeira, and the Azores” in 2023.
“Lisbon rose 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”, defended 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 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 fees, another threat to the growth of tourism in Portugal comes in the form of ETS fees [environmental fees], which unfairly target short-haul flights, with the inclusion of the outermost regions of the European Union having been recently proposed, including Madeira, already in 2024”, pointed out Michael O'Leary.
For the leader of the airline, 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 from the EU, such as Morocco, Turkey, and Jordan, which are exempt from paying ETS”.