“Unfortunately, we are here to announce cuts, because we have recently been victims of the ANA/Vinci monopoly, which has extraordinarily increased airport charges for next year”, announced the executive chairman of the Irish airline, Michael O'Leary, at a press conference in Lisbon.

Ryanair therefore decided to cut one of the two planes at the Madeira base in January next year and reduce traffic in Faro and Porto next summer.

ANA - Aeroportos de Portugal reviewed the tariff proposal for 2024 at national airports, and now proposes an average increase of 14.55 percent in global terms, including adjustments to fees not charged in previous years.

By airport, the variation is greatest in Lisbon, with 16.98 percent (+2.29 euros), with Porto increasing 11.92 percent (+0.92 euros), Faro increasing 11.35 percent (+0 .88 euros) and Beja 8.77 percent (+17.71 euros). In the Azores, the proposal foresees an increase of 7.47 percent (+0.57 euros) and in Madeira of 7.92 percent (+0.98 euros).

“Excessive and unjustified increases”

The executive president of Ryanair highlighted that these “excessive and unjustified increases” will “harm tourism and jobs in Portugal, especially in the island economies of Madeira and the Azores”.

O’Leary regretted that Portugal is not freezing or reducing airport taxes, as other European airports are doing, to stimulate traffic and the recovery of tourism after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ryanair therefore appealed to the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) to intervene, freezing the increases proposed by the airport manager.

Additionally, Michael O’Leary also asked that the Portuguese Government “reopen the concession for the new Montijo Airport, to break ANA’s monopoly”.

Asked about the other location possibilities for the new airport that are being studied, the head of the Irish company reiterated that “the solution for Lisbon is Montijo” and urged the Government to resolve the issue “once and for all”.

In a press conference with harsh words aimed at the Government and ANA, whom he called “incompetent” several times, Michael O'Leary said that Lisbon airport could grow from 30 to 40 million passengers with different management and accused the French multinational Vinci of purposely restricting capacity at Portela.

Ryanair had already closed its base in Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, in winter this year, also as a reaction to ANA's price increase.

Regarding the delay in deliveries of Boeing planes, which led the airline to cancel some flights from the end of October, Michael O'Leary explained that, of the 57 units that were planned, 10 to 12 should receive by Christmas and a total of 40 by the end of June.

“The situation in Europe will become difficult next summer, there will be fewer seats available”, he concluded.

(Updated at 14:06 to include additional information)