Ryanair has been forced to cancel 5,000 flights to Portugal for summer 2022 following a dispute over landing slots at Lisbon airport.
The budget carrier has cut the number of aircraft based at the Portuguese capital from seven to four, which means that thousands of flights including routes from Birmingham and Bournemouth have been cancelled.
It’s estimated that the move will affect 900,000 passengers, as 19 routes have been cut from the Ryanair schedule. (You can see the full list below).
The move comes following a dispute with Portuguese authorities regarding fellow airline TAP. Ryanair says that it was forced to make the cancellations because of “TAP’s continued blocking of landing slots, which TAP cannot and will not use at Lisbon Portela this summer”.
The airline says it made multiple requests to the Portuguese government to release the unused slots. The company also estimates that the cuts will represent a loss of 150 aviation jobs, and €250million in lost tourism revenue for Lisbon this summer.
Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary said that the airline “deeply regret all these unnecessary disruptions to passengers on these cancelled flights”.
He described the slot blocking as “anti-competitive” and “to the detriment of the Lisbon economy”.
Passengers who are affected by the cancellations are due to receive emails this week with options for a full refund, or alternative flights to/from Lisbon for the summer.
Mr O’Leary added that Ryanair still hopes to returning the three aircraft and 19 routs to Lisbon in October in time for the airline’s winter schedule.
The 19 Lisbon routes which Ryanair has cut for summer 2022 include:
Portugal holidays have been back on the cards for Brits for a while, and in recent weeks the country has also relaxed some of its travel rules for UK holidaymakers.
In fact, it’s joined the list of countries you can visit without tests if you’re vaccinated, as double jabbed Brits no longer need a negative Covid test to visit mainland Portugal, Madeira and Porto Santo.
To be considered fully vaccinated you’ll need to have completed your vaccine course at least 14 days before travel. It’s also worth noting that like Spain and France, Portugal has implemented a rule meaning that you will need a booster if your vaccination was completed over 270 days ago (approximately nine months).