Ryanair will cancel 19 routes in Lisbon for this summer, justifying this decision with the fact that the Government has not unlocked the slots that TAP will not use at Lisbon airport.
According to a report by ECO, the Irish airline has warned the Executive several times that these cancellations will happen if no action is taken and the decision will affect around 5,000 flights and 150 jobs. “We are disappointed not to have received any response, despite having already extended the deadline for action” said Michael O’Leary early this week. “We call on Prime Minister António Costa to act quickly, and we demand that TAP, as a condition of its EUR 3 billion state aid, release these unused slots” he concluded.
The routes that Ryanair says it was “forced” to cancel are: Agadir, Alghero, Alicante, Bari, Billund, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Baden-Baden, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malta, Memmingen, Oujda, Palermo, Perpignan, Poitiers, Tenerife, Krakow and Zaragoza. “The three aircraft and the 19 lost routes will return to Lisbon in October, for the winter schedule”, when there will be “enough slots”.
Our latest efforts to ask the Prime Minister for help resulted in a total of 0 responses.Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair
These cancellations – which could be avoided – take place after numerous attempts, on the part of Ryanair, to ask the Portuguese Government to intervene in the release of slots unused by TAP in summer 2022”, says the company, in a statement sent this Tuesday. “TAP received €3 billion in state aid, reduced its fleet by 20 percent, ended up with thousands of jobs and still freed up only less than 5 percent of its slots in Lisbon, thus blocking the growth of other airlines”.
“Our latest efforts to ask the Prime Minister for help resulted in a total of 0 responses. Unfortunately, Ryanair is now forced to reduce its fleet of planes, from seven to four, in Lisbon in the summer”, says CEO Michael O’Leary, also pointing to the “loss of 150 well-paid aviation jobs”, “more than 900,000 passengers” and “more than €250 million in tourist revenue” to Lisbon this summer.
“We regret this unnecessary inconvenience for all passengers on these cancelled flights. (…) The loss of these 19 routes and 5,000 flights will impact the post-Covid recovery in Lisbon, so the city will lag behind, compared to other European capitals“.
Ryanair says that all passengers affected by these cancellations will be notified by email by the end of this week, with the possibility to request a refund or reschedule alternative flights.