“We presented the proposal for the slots and we clearly fulfilled all the requirements [because] we have large planes and we are committed to basing these planes in Lisbon and also to add additional flights to and from Lisbon”, said Michael O'Leary, in an interview with Lusa.

Asked about expectations for the tender, the head of the Irish low-cost airline said: “I have high hopes and I think it will be very difficult not to award the tender to Ryanair”.

Noting that it is not possible “to go ahead with concrete plans now because it is not even known what these 18 slots are”, Michael O'Leary points out that “the assumption is that these slots are sufficient to operate about three additional aircraft in Lisbon “, adding that they have already demonstrated that they can “operate three more planes in Lisbon”.

“Bitterly disappointed”

“In the winter we had a base of seven aircraft in Lisbon, but we had to reduce that base to four aircraft during the summer because we did not have enough slots and we are bitterly disappointed that the Portuguese Government has not responded to the request to release these slots from TAP because would they would have allowed us to keep these routes open and to continue to grow, which we hope to do with these slots”, he said

Still regarding the tender, Ryanair's executive chairman indicates that the company is “waiting for new larger planes from Boeing”. “Which means we can use these slots more efficiently than TAP […] and aggregate more passengers per slot than any other airline in Europe,” says Michael O'Leary.

It is expected that, in the week of June 13, the European Commission will disclose the decision on the evaluation of the proposals and that, around July 25, the agreement to transfer slots will be signed, for the start of the operation on 30 October.