On Tuesday morning Michael O’Leary conducted a whirlwind tour of Portugal, holding press conferences in Lisbon and the Algarve within the space of a few hours.
The conferences were held to announce new introductions and changes to operations for Winter 2015 at the three main airports on mainland Portugal as well as new operations to and from Ponta Delgada, Azores.
One new route to Memmingem (Germany) has been added to the Faro Winter programme; a new route will also be launched from Oporto airport to Ponta Delgada (Azores), and two new routes will be launched from Lisbon, to Ponta Delgada and Warsaw, Poland.
The new routes will take the total number of routes operated by Ryanair from Faro, Lisbon and Oporto during winter 2015 to 14, 17 and 25 respectively.
The airline will also bump up flights on eight other routes – to Eindhoven, Manchester, Oporto and Rome from Faro, to Eindhoven and London from Lisbon, and to Lisbon and London from Oporto – to cater for a growing demand from passengers.
Overall, with the new routes and bolstered existing flights, Ryanair expects to carry 6.7 million passengers per year to and from Portugal as well as sustaining some 6,700 jobs.
In total the no frills airline will be operating 59 routes from Portugal this coming winter season.
Speaking at Portela airport in Lisbon on Tuesday morning, Michael O’Leary said the airline “is delighted to announce the biggest Portuguese programme ever for winter 2015, with seven new routes to a total of 59, which will generate 6.7 million passengers per year and support 6,700 jobs at airports in Faro, Lisbon, Oporto and Ponta Delgada.”
Ryanair announced its plans to launch flights to the Azores from 1 April this year back in December last year, in the wake of the market liberalisation.
The airline will operate services to and from Ponta Delgada and Lisbon, Oporto and London, with a total of 20 flights a week.
Ryanair’s marketing director, David O’Brien, made the statement in Ponta Delgada at a news conference to announce the opening of the company’s fourth base in Portugal, which it estimates could cater for 350,000 travellers a year, helping create 350 new jobs.
Speaking at the time, O’Brien said: “Ryanair welcomes the decision of the government to open the Azores market to competition, which will benefit residents, tourists and consumers.
“Our three new routes to the Azores with daily flights and good times are ideal for clients on business, residents of the islands and families who are planning their 2015 summer holiday at low cost.”
The company is also studying the possibility of laying on flights to the island of Terceira.
On 31 October 2014, Portugal’s national civil aviation institute informed all airlines that the government aimed to open up the market for flights between the mainland and the is islands of São Miguel and Terceira.