Ryanair hopes to get slots TAP has to release at Lisbon airport

  • Lusa
  • 1 April 2022

The chief executive of the Ryanair group, Michael O'Leary, said he's "very hopeful" it will access the 18 daily slots that TAP has to give up at Lisbon airpor

Ryanair has said it is “very hopeful” it will access the 18 daily slots that TAP has to give up at Lisbon airport, following Brussels’ imposition to approve the restructuring plan, providing for three additional aircraft.

The chief executive of the Ryanair group, Michael O’Leary, said in an interview with Lusa news agency the company had presented the proposal for the slots [for landing and take-off] and met all the requirements [because] they had large aircraft and were committed to base these aircraft in Lisbon and add additional flights to and from Lisbon.

Asked about his expectations for the tender, the head of the Irish low-cost airline company said he was hopeful and thought it would be complicated not to award the tender to Ryanair.

While stressing that it is not possible to advance with concrete plans because they do not know what these 18 slots are, Michael O’Leary pointed out that the assumption was that these slots would be sufficient to operate around three additional aircraft in Lisbon, adding that they had already shown that they could operate three more aircraft in Lisbon.

In the winter, Ryanair had a base of seven aircraft in Lisbon but had to reduce that base to four aircraft during the summer because it did not have enough slots and was bitterly disappointed that the Portuguese government had not responded to the request to release these slots from TAP because it would have allowed the airline to keep these routes open and continue to grow, which they hoped to do with these slots, he added.

Regarding the tender, Ryanair’s CEO said the company was waiting for new larger aircraft coming from Boeing.

It could use these slots more efficiently than TAP and aggregate more passengers per slot than any other airline in Europe, Michael O’Leary told Lusa.

The tender for access to the 18 daily slots that TAP will give up at Lisbon airport, following the European Commission’s requirement to endorse the restructuring plan, began at the end of February, with a decision expected in June.

The tender details consulted by Lusa state that the deadline for expressions of interest ended on March 24, followed by a communication of the list of carriers that did so until April 25 and then May 12 is the final date for the official presentation of bids.

The European Commission is expected to release its decision on evaluating the bids during the week of June 13, and the slot transfer agreement is expected to be signed around July 25 for operations to start on October 30.

At issue is the endorsement from the European Commission on December 21 to TAP’s restructuring plan and the state aid of €2.55 billion to allow the group to return to viability, imposing commitments so as not to harm European competition.

Among the remedies imposed by Brussels to approve the restructuring plan is the obligation for the airline to release up to 18 slots a day at Lisbon airport.