The Association of Local Accommodation of the Azores (ALA) has expressed great concern about the possible exit of low-cost airline Ryanair from the Azores’ airspace.
A survey conducted by the organisation revealed that almost 42 per cent of respondents reported experiencing the consequences of this situation.
In addition, the data suggests that if Ryanair does indeed stop flights to the Azores during the off-peak season, the ALA could face a drop in revenue of nearly 31 per cent.
“Such an outcome would be extremely negative for the region, not only directly for tourism in the low season but also in terms of promoting the Azore’s destination, taking into account the capacity of this airline to reach the large outbound markets,” ALA pointed out in this regard.
Previously in July 27, the regional secretary for Tourism, Mobility and Infrastructure, Berta Cabral, said that negotiations between the Regional Government and Ryanair to keep the airline’s operational base in the archipelago are progressing positively.
According to her, the current progress is promising on their part, and they are going well. However, she stressed that there are still outstanding issues with ANA (Aeroportos de Portugal) Vinci. These pending issues involve all three parties, and an agreement is considered concluded only when all parties reach a consensus.
During that period, Jornal de Negócios reported that an agreement had not yet been reached between Ryanair and the Azores government to support the airline’s operational base in the archipelago.
In correspondence with Jornal de Negócios, the airline’s CEO, Eddie Wilson, acknowledged ongoing negotiations but indicated that there had been no substantial progress to encourage the company to stay.
Ponta Delgada Airport, which is the largest airport in the Azores, experienced substantial growth in passenger traffic over the past years. Data provided by the airport revealed that last year, the airport served a total of 2,217,150 passengers, marking a remarkable surge of 77.55 per cent when compared to the previous year’s count of 1,248,717.
Such data show that this trend continued into May 2023, with 253,362 passengers using the airport, demonstrating an increase of 29.02 per cent in comparison to May 2022, during which 196,369 passengers were recorded.
Furthermore, Ryanair has recently been dealing with internal issues, mainly with its unhappy employees. Amongst other, Ryanair pilots launched a new strike on 14 and 15 August in response to complaints about their pay and working conditions.
During previous strikes on July 15-16, more than 80 per cent of Ryanair pilots were involved, eventually leading to the cancellation of 120 flights at Charleroi Airport. Similarly, the subsequent round of strikes on July 29-30 resulted in the cancellation of nearly 100 flights.
These strike actions affected flights in various countries, including Bosnia, Croatia, France, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden.