Ryanair to Cut Portugal Capacity Due to Airport Fee Hike
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Ryanair to Cut Portugal Capacity Due to Airport Fee Hike

Ryanair (EI-DWC) Boeing 737-800. Photo: Fabrizio Spicuglia/Airways

DALLAS — Ryanair (FR) has announced that it will cut capacity at Faro (FAO) and Porto (OPO) airports, both of which move two-thirds of the airline’s flights to Portugal. In Q4 2023, FR operated 17,226 flights to Portugal, of which more than 11,302 were bound for FAO and OPO, according to Cirium Diio.

The move comes as a result of steep increases in airport fees levied by Portugal’s Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC). The country’s National Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed an increase of up to 17% in airport fees for 2024.

The Irish low-cost airline said that these increases are unjustified and excessive. FR says the ANAC’s monopoly in Portugal is having a detrimental effect on the country’s competitiveness for airlines. The lack of competition has forced FR to reduce capacity on 40 routes from its FAO and OPO bases for summer 2024.

Ryanair lamented the steep increase in airport fees, saying that Lisbon’s (LIS) airport fees for 2024 (LIS) were up 50% compared to 2019. “ANA’s airport monopoly does not face competition in Portugal, which allows it to increase prices without penalties. In Lisbon alone, passenger rates in 2024 will increase by up to +50% compared to 2019, despite the majority of European airports having cut passenger rates post-Covid to recover traffic and growth.”

Ryanair - Boeing 737-800 - 9H-QBC. Photo: Julian Schopfer/Airways
Ryanair Boeing 737-800 9H-QBC. Photo: Julian Schopfer/Airways

Impact of the ANAC Fee Increases

Ryanair contends that the significant increases in fees will have detrimental consequences for both FR and the passengers who fly with them. As a result of these fee hikes, the airline has already decided to close its base at Ponta Delgada (PDL) in the Azores. Furthermore, FR has also taken the step of reducing its aircraft presence in its Madeira (FNC) operations due to the heightened airport fees.

The recent announcement by ANAC regarding fee increases will not only impede tourism but also have a broader impact on the economy of Portugal. Given that the country has seen a surge in tourism since reopening its borders following the pandemic, it heavily relies on air transport as a favored means of travel.

Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson has said that the Portuguese government should intervene to save the country’s economy. The CEO said, “These excessive increases in airport charges have today resulted in the further reduction of Ryanair capacity on 40 routes at our Faro and Porto bases. The Portuguese Government. must intervene immediately to protect Portuguese tourism, airlines, passengers, and island economies from excessive ANA monopoly prices that are crowding out much-needed tourism growth.”

In related news, the budget airline just revealed its plans to introduce a fresh route in its summer flight schedule for 2024. This new route will connect Pula to the German city of Memmingen. Additionally, FR will also be launching new routes from Rijeka and Split. The commencement of operations between Memmingen and Pula, and vice versa, is set to start on June 1.

Featured image: Ryanair (EI-DWC) Boeing 737-800. Photo: Fabrizio Spicuglia/Airways. Article source: theportugalnews.com

South Africa-based aviation journalist who writes about airlines, routes, networks, new developments.

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