The famous Irish low cost airline, Ryanair, has been investing heavily in Portugal in the last decade. Recently, the country has enjoyed a tourist boom in the last five years, having witnessed a huge increase in the number of tourists.
It is precisely to follow this tourist trend and to reinforce Portugal’s privileged status on the airline’s routes that Ryanair will launch 12 new routes to Portugal as early as next summer. As announced on October 9th, Ryanair will launch new routes to the destinations of Alicante, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brive, Cagliari, Clermont, Edinburgh, London Southend, Marrakech, Milan Bergamo, Seville and Venice Treviso, which brings the total routes operated by the company in Portugal to 129. This represents a total investment of around 100 million euros by Ryanair, which estimates that the investment will translate into an increase of 11 million passengers.
From Faro Airport there will be new routes to Berlin, Milan Bergamo and London Southend. The airport, which has recently been targeted for works, will also see a greater frequency on the routes it maintains with Birmingham, Dublin, Leeds and Manchester. Because the Algarve is one of the favourite holiday destinations for British people, it will now be connected to three London airports: Luton, Southend and Stansted. To celebrate these new routes, Ryanair has established a promotion with new reduced prices for luggage and a passenger who wants to travel with a suitcase up to 20kg will now have to pay only €24.99.
When presenting the new commercial routes for the summer of 2019, Michael O’Leary, CEO of the Irish low cost, acknowledged the importance of this new investment in Portugal, in the face of the difficult period that Ryanair experienced last summer due to fuel and personnel costs, which ultimately undermined the company’s profits. “Oil is at $85 a barrel, prices are falling” he said, adding that it is “a difficult time for airlines.”
The year 2018 has been particularly tough for the company, having been marked by several strikes. The first strike of the company’s history took place in March and April of this year, in Portugal, and it was carried out by members of the cabin crew. The 25 and 26 July strikes, which included Portugal, had an adhesion of around 70%, and the last strike scheduled for September 28 forced the company to cancel 190 flights, which led to 30,000 passengers being affected. It is for these reasons that Michael O’Leary stresses the importance of continuing to invest in Portugal, thus providing jobs for people. The CEO also calls for an agreement with the unions to “end these senseless wars that don’t get us anywhere.”