Ryanar’s call for the release of TAP slots is nothing new, it’s a recurring theme in Michael O’Leary’s frequent press conferences in Portugal. This time, the appeal is accompanied by a threat and a date to carry it out: March 4. What O’Leary wants is the release of the 18 daily slots (time slot for landing and taking off) this summer, otherwise he will cut three planes and routes in Lisbon. The plan negotiated and approved by Brussels provides for cuts of 18 daily slots only after October.
“Unless the Prime Minister intervenes this week to free up slots not used by TAP – for summer 2022 only – Ryanair will be forced to reduce from 7 aircraft to 4, at its Portela airport base, in Lisbon, at the end of the week, and with that the loss of a million passengers, 150 jobs and more than 250 million euros in tourist expenditure in Lisbon”, advances the company in a press release sent to the editorial staff.
Quoted in the same memo, Ryanair’s executive chairman, Michael O’Leary, said the company had written “to Prime Minister António Costa on February 16, asking him to act before the end of February”, but, until ‘at the end of February, today has not received any response. Ryanair ruled the state aid to TAP illegal before the General Court of the European Union and harshly criticized the strategy of the company and the Portuguese government.
He continues: “Since TAP will not use these ‘slots’ in the summer of 2022, they will be wasted, unless the Prime Minister steps in and asks TAP to lend these ‘slots’ to Ryanair, nothing only for the summer, to save 20 roads, one million visitors, and the 250 million euros they spent in Lisbon.” “For this reason, I once again call on the Prime Minister to intervene to urgently to save these planes, these routes, these passengers and these jobs in Lisbon, for the summer of 2022”, underlined the president of Ryanair.
Ryanair, explains O’Leary, however, “will not need these ‘slots’ after the summer of 2022, since TAP will be forced, by the European Commission, to release 18 daily ‘slots’, from winter 2022”. The 18 daily slots will be awarded to an airline through a tender supervised by the European Commission, and Ryanair is recognized as one of the main competitors,