"The negotiations are on track, but any negotiation is only closed when the three parties reach an agreement", said the regional secretary for tourism, mobility and infrastructure, Berta Cabral.
The regional secretary for tourism, mobility and infrastructure, Berta Cabral, has said that “the negotiations of the Azores regional government (PSD/CDS-PP/PPM) with the airline Ryanair for the maintenance of the company’s base in the archipelago are on track”.
“At the moment, on our side, the issues are very well underway, but there are, in fact, still situations to resolve with ANA [Portuguese Airports] managing company Vinci. And these are the ones that are pending and an agreement is only closed when it is closed with the three parties,” Berta Cabral told reporters in Ponta Delgada on Thursday, at the end of a meeting with the ANA executive.
According to Jornal de Negócios, Ryanair and the government of the Azores “have not yet reached an understanding for the maintenance of the airline’s base in the archipelago”.
The airline’s CEO, Eddie Wilson, told the newspaper on Wednesday 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”.
On Thursday, the regional secretary for tourism, mobility and infrastructure recalled that the agreement with Ryanair is between the company, the Autonomous Region of the Azores (through Visit Azores) and ANA Vinci.
“At the moment, on our side [Regional Government], the issues are very well underway, but there are, in fact, still situations to resolve with ANA Vinci. And these are the [issues] that are pending and an agreement is only closed when it is closed with the three parties,” she clarified.
The three parties are negotiating and the minister hopes that an agreement between the entities involved “will be soon”, but did not comment on the details.
She emphasised that “the negotiations are on track, but any negotiation is only closed when the three parties reach an agreement”.
“What we have negotiated with Ryanair is on the right track,” she said, rejecting, despite the insistence of journalists, to advance with details about the ongoing negotiations, emphasising that “they are between the three parties”: “This is like in Europe. It is only resolved when everyone agrees. At the moment, the agreement between two parties is missing”.
On the part of the Regional Government of the Azores, Berta Cabral admits that there will be a “favourable outcome” to the process.
“I hope that there will also be a favourable outcome in the rapid publication of the regulation that has to do with the setting of the security rate which is the fundamental issue that is in the two articles that were published yesterday [Wednesday] in the national press,” she added.
On the subject, ANA president Thierry Ligonnière told reporters that the Ryanair company tests routes and keeps only those that give it greater profitability and “often uses a more aggressive negotiation strategy”.
“Ryanair remains an important partner with whom we like to work and we work calmly to define the ways to increase connectivity,” he said.
He emphasised that ANA’s rates are published on the company’s website and Ponta Delgada’s rates “are the lowest of all airports in the ANA network in Portugal”, but Ryanair is “right” about the security fee.
ANA has proposed a reduction from €3.54 to €1.80 per passenger, but to be applied it depends “on an executive order that has not yet been finalised” and not on the company.
Thierry Ligonnière said that ANA is working with the mainland Portuguese government to ensure that the ordinance “is implemented quickly”, recognising that it is “the main focus of the problem” with Ryanair throughout the country and, in particular, in the Azores.