Ryanair said it is canceling 19 routes from Lisbon Airport (LIS) this summer after Portugal’s government refused to release slots that are being made available by TAP Air Portugal as a condition of its state-backed restructure.
The Irish airline claimed the move will result in 950,000 fewer seats and 5,000 fewer flights during the summer 2022 season. Four aircraft will now be based in Portugal’s capital, instead of the planned seven.
Ryanair had hoped to operate the routes using 18 daily slots that are being relinquished by TAP. The European Commission ruled in December that TAP must concede them to help preserve “effective competition” in Lisbon.
German advisory firm Alcis Advisers is running a tendering process for the slots, but they will only become available to the successful applicant at the start of the winter 2022/23 season.
Earlier this month, Ryanair urged Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa to intervene and expediate the process to allocate them in time for the summer 2022 season. However, Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary said the request for help from Costa had “fallen on deaf ears with zero reply.”
“The loss of these 19 Lisbon routes and 5,000 flights this summer means that Lisbon’s post-COVID recovery will now lag behind other major EU capital cities,” O’Leary said. “This anti-competitive slot blocking obstructs growth and delays the recovery of traffic, tourism and jobs at Lisbon Portela to the detriment of the Lisbon economy.”
However, Ryanair confirmed that the 19 routes and three based aircraft will return to Lisbon in October as the airline has sufficient slots during the winter 2022/23 season to operate the services.
The 19 routes canceled this summer are: