On February 28, the airline at low price Ryanair has appealed to Prime Minister António Costa for their release slits (schedules) not used by TAP until March 4, leaving an underlying threat: if this did not happen, it would cancel routes and reduce the number of planes from seven to four. The Portuguese government did not respond to Michael O’Leary’s ultimatum, and this Tuesday the president of the Irish company warned that this summer there will be fewer flights than Ryanair had planned for Lisbon, because five thousand flights would be cancelled. The official also indicates that 150 jobs will be affected.
The announced cancellation will only take effect on so-called IATA summer flights, as Ryanair believes it will restore the offer from October. It will then again have seven aircraft based in Lisbon, since in winter the slits available in Lisbon are sufficient.
“Ryanair, number 1 in Europe, 900,000 passengers and 19 connections from Lisbon to other destinations,” the carrier announced on Tuesday. The canceled lines are Agadir, Alghero, Alicante, Bari, Billund, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Baden-Baden, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malta, Memmingen, Oujda, Palermo, Perpignan, Poitiers, Tenerife, Krakow and Zaragoza.
The company explains in a press release that this action “is due to the fact that TAP continues to block slits at Lisbon airport”, which specifies that the Portuguese carrier will not use it this summer. And he points out the responsibilities towards the Portuguese government: “These cancellations – which could be avoided – come after numerous attempts, on the part of Ryanair, to ask the Portuguese government to intervene in the release of the slits deactivated by TAP in the summer of 2022″. O’Leary says he has had “no” response from the Portuguese executive.
The same official also accuses TAP of having reduced its fleet (following the restructuring plan) by 20%, but of having freed up less than 5% of its slits in Lisbon, thus blocking the growth of other airlines. And she estimates that the cancellation of the 5,000 flights will have an impact of more than 250 million euros in lost tourist revenue in the summer. TAP, it should be remembered, will be forced by the European Commission, following the approval of the restructuring plan, to release 18 slits every day, starting in winter 2022”.
Ryanair adds that “all passengers affected by these cancellations will receive notifications on the E-mail until the end of this week, with the possibility of reimbursement or alternative flights to/from Lisbon for the summer of 2022”.