"It is a matter of concern for the economic development of the region", indicating that "the aspects of industry" and "the aspects of tourism" are most relevant for the North.

On Saturday, Jornal de Notícias reported that, compared to the summer of 2019, TAP will operate seven fewer routes and offer 705,000 fewer seats from Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, unlike the main international companies, which will reinforce their presence from Porto airport.

The president of CCDR-N told Lusa that the North "is the most exporting region in the country" and has "one of the most important diasporas in the country", in addition to the already mentioned tourism and industry.

Spanish link

Additionally, Francisco Sá Carneiro airport also serves the Spanish region of Galicia, leading passenger traffic in 2021 vis-à-vis the Galician airports of Vigo, A Coruña and Santiago de Compostela.

In 2021, the three Galician airports together transported 2.798 million passengers, according to data from the Spanish operator AENA, a figure that is less than half of the 5.842 million that the Portuguese terminal transported.

Faced with the question of whether public support should be considered for other airlines to provide services in the North, the president of CCDR-N replied that "eventually" this would be a solution.

"The issue has to be analysed, it has to be seen, yes, but conditions have to be found to replace what has been done by TAP until now and which is no longer done, and at the moment TAP are only serving one region of the country", he maintained.

António Cunha also said that CCDR-N hopes to "work with the Government" in order to "find alternatives that allow the operation by other companies to be viable".

“Regional company”

The mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, has accused the Government of wanting to transform TAP into a “regional company” to serve the Lisbon hub and the carrier of “abandoning once again” the Francisco Sá Carneiro airport.

The PSD/Porto President Alberto Machado, said that TAP’s strategy was “completely inconceivable” and BE deputy José Soeiro accused the company of wanting to turn Francisco Sá Carneiro airport “into a kind of stop” connecting Lisbon.

TAP stated that it doubled the number of flights from Porto compared to last year, a reinforcement that came into force this month and will continue until the end of the summer.