Possible closure of Ryanair Azores base bad for tourism, mobility

  • Lusa
  • 27 July 2023

Ryanair and the government of the Azores "have not yet reached an understanding to maintain the airline's base in the archipelago".

Socialist MP Carlos Silva accused the Regional Government on Wednesday of “letting go” of the situation of a possible departure of Ryanair from the Azores, jeopardising tourism and the mobility of Azoreans.

“The government of the Azores is letting the situation go, without intervening, and there is a risk that, as of October, Ryanair will stop operating to the Azores, which puts at risk not only tourist flows, but above all the mobility of the Azoreans, at the same time that 85% of Azores Airlines may be privatised,” he told reporters.

The Socialist MP was today visiting the parish of Sete Cidades, in the municipality of Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel, in the Azores.

According to Jornal de Negócios newspaper, Ryanair and the government of the Azores “have not yet reached an understanding to maintain the airline’s base in the archipelago”.

The airline’s CEO, Eddie Wilson, told the newspaper that negotiations are ongoing, but as there has been “no development to incentivise” the company to stay, the decision to leave Ponta Delgada “is imminent”.

Carlos Silva even questions “why the regional government is not interested in Ryanair staying in the Azores, considering that “there is an additional pressure factor here that jeopardises the mobility of Azoreans”.

Regarding the tourism plan for the Azores (POTRA), the opposition MP said that “nothing is known [about the new document], while we are witnessing high tourist pressure in certain places and the impact that tourism has on the lives of Azoreans” and on access to housing.

“We agree with the urgent need to organise tourism in the region, but we do not understand the inaction of the government of the Azores when it presented more than a year ago a POTRA that was outdated, with data from 2017, and since then nothing has happened”, stressed the MP.

Carlos Silva said, on the other hand, that in Sete Cidades there is a water line “for almost two years, as a result of the bad weather, which is completely obstructed, serving in parallel as an agricultural path, which makes it impossible for workers to access their farms”.

“It is an image that does not dignify the region and does not enhance the tourist destination”, considered the parliamentarian, warning that the government of the Azores should “intervene quickly to solve the problem”, in order to avoid an “image of slovenliness and neglect in certain places of tourist interest, but which also serve the population and the daily life of farms”.