Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary is once again putting pressure on Portugal’s Prime Minister, António Costa, and insisting that the deadline for releasing TAP slots is overdue. It had been set to expire at the end of February, then on March 4th.
After several warnings, O’Leary wrote another letter to António Costa with a new ultimatum: if TAP does not release the 18 slots it does not use, the airline will close 20 routes from Lisbon in the summer, which could lead to the loss of up to 150 jobs. Michael O’Leary has stated that Prime Minister Costa may discuss the matter if he calls him.
We are disappointed not to have received any response, despite having already extended the deadline for action.Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO
In the letter sent, O’Leary calls on the Portuguese Prime Minister to help free up TAP’s 18 daily slots at Portela Airport for the 2022 summer season, which are slots that TAP cannot, and will not use because of fleet reduction.
O’Leary wants the slots to be released for the 2022 season so that Ryanair can “keep three more aircraft, deliver one million more passengers and save 150 jobs in Lisbon this summer.”
Michael O’Leary has reiterated that if Costa does not act, Ryanair “will be forced to announce the closure of 20 Lisbon routes this summer and the relocation of three aircraft to lower costs outside Portugal,” which could lead to the loss of up to 150 well-paid jobs for pilots and cabin staff in the capital.
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 slotsMichael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO
Ryanair has stated several times that the company has been investing substantially in Portugal, launching a new shuttle service to Madeira and basing three additional planes at Lisbon airport.
The letter follows another sent on February 16, where the same appeal was made and that, according to Ryanair, did not receive any response. According to Simple Flying magazine, TAP intends to serve 91 destinations from Lisbon during summer 2022, compared with 93 during summer 2019. Its capacity, however, will be about 9% down on pre-pandemic levels.