The other airline competing for the former TAP slots was Ryanair, which on Monday had told Lusa that it was the "most reliable" candidate in the running.
The European Commission on Thursday allocated 18 daily slots at Lisbon airport taken from TAP, the national flag carreir, as a condition of approving the restructuring plan for the airline, to its rival EasyJet, which came in first place in the bidding to beat out Ryanair.
“The European Commission has ranked EasyJet first among the airlines that applied for the allocation of a portfolio of up to 18 daily take-off and landing slots at Lisbon airport,” the EU executive said in a statement.
“The slots will be made available by TAP Air Portugal to mitigate any undue distortions of competition created by the restructuring aid granted to it by Portugal, following authorisation by the Commission in December 2021,” it continued, adding that this would allow EasyJet “to start operating new routes from 30 October 2022.”
The other airline competing for the former TAP slots was Ryanair, which on Monday had told Lusa that it was the “most reliable” candidate in the running.
The commission took a different view, saying in a news release that it had “analysed in detail the proposals received according to the eligibility, evaluation and ranking criteria” and taking into account “the seating capacity that the carriers could offer using the slots made available by TAP Air Portugal” – and had ranked EasyJet first.
“EasyJet now has priority to conclude a slot transfer agreement with TAP Air Portugal that will allow it to expand its operations at Lisbon airport and offer new flights from 30 October 2022,” the commission statement reads.
At issue is the rubber stamp given by the commission on 21 December to TAP’s restructuring plan and associated state aid of €2.55 billion aimed at returning the group to viability, imposing commitments so as not to harm competition within the EU.
Among the remedies imposed by Brussels to approve the restructuring plan was precisely the obligation for the airline to make available up to 18 slots per day at Lisbon airport.