In comments to Lusa News Agency O’Leary accused airport manager Vinci of strangling his company’s growth potential.
The Irish low-cost airline’s outspoken CEO said that Vinci had turned down his request for more aircraft movements per hour at Lisbon adding that this could only be seen as an intention “not to want to expand so as not to hit the limit set by the government”.
“Lisbon can grow much more. It is time to consider Montijo. We want to invest in Lisbon but at the moment we are blocked by Portela (Lisbon) airport”, he said.
Michael O’Leary also revealed on Wednesday that the airline had submitted a proposal for flights to Terceira Island in the Azores, but that it was rejected by Portugal’s government without any explanation.
“We wanted to fly to Terceira, but the proposal was refused”, O’Leary said at a news conference in Lisbon. “No explanation was given.”
Last Friday the State Secretary for Transport said he could not yet say when low-cost airlines would start serving Terceira as they currently do Ponta Delgada, as well as Lisbon, Oporto and Faro.
In the first four months of liberalisation of air transport to and from the Azores, heralding the arrival of Ryanair and Easyjet, more than 74,000 more passengers flew in and out than in the same period of 2014.
Tourism is seen as as one of the sectors with most potential in the region, which is one of Portugal’s poorest. TPN/Lusa