Work of Alberto Alberto João Jardim “done”
The Diario is reporting that there was much talk at the weekend of AJJ’s “work” being nearly complete as President of the Regional Government of Madeira – this was at the close of the XXIV Cider Festival that took place in the parish of Santo da Serra. A ceremony took place at the local “People’s House” to which notably neither the Mayor of Santa Cruz nor the president of the Parish of Santo da Serra were apparently invited. There are five candidates to succeed him as leader of PSD-M later this year: Miguel Albuquerque, Miguel Sousa, Sérgio Marques, Manuel António Correia e João Cunha e Silva. Meanwhile, the Mayor of Lisbon, António Costa, has won the Madeiran leg of the primary elections for leadership of the national Socialist Party (PS) – a party that AJJ, who has been in position since 1978, describes as “having led Portugal into bankruptcy”. Costa recently declared a commitment to “building a political alternative in Madeira to dislodge the PSD from the Regional Government” adding "Madeira is a historic turning point. After tens of years, the Quinta Vigia tenant will change" and noted that "the internal implosion in PSD Madeira is a clear signal that there will be a policy change".
Following up on BA’s announcement that it is to recommence flights next May, Norwegian Air has announced that it will operate two weekly flights (Tuesdays and Saturdays) between London Gatwick Airport and Madeira from October 28th. Prices start at £39.90 one way. Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, commercially branded “Norwegian”, is a low-cost airline listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and is the second largest airline in Scandinavia and third largest low cost carrier in Europe. More than 20 million passengers fly on its network per year.
Continued airport growth, and ANA profits
Still on an air traffic theme, Portugal’s airports saw passenger numbers grow 4.9% in 2013 compared to the year before. According to figures released by the National Statistics Institute, 32.6 million passengers used the nation’s airports last year. The number of aircraft rose 1.5% with 149,600 flights landing and taking off. Lisbon held on to the number one spot with 49% of passengers using the capital’s airport (much improved lately in my opinion), an increase of nearly 5% compared to 2012; while the airports serving Oporto and the Algarve saw rises of 5.3% and 5.4%. Faro has a market share of 18% while Madeira and the Azores carried 10.4% of national traffic.
This all good news for the French owners of airport management company ANA, which was sold by the government as part of its privatisation obligations to the Troika of lenders that organised Portugal’s bailout. Landing charges, ground rents and sharp rises in costs for airport based businesses have enabled ANA to use its unregulated monopoly position to substantially raise revenues and make large cash contributions to its parent Vinci Group which paid over €3 billion for ANA.
Ronaldo form continues
A lot of press stories recently link Madeira’s favourite son, CR7, with a possible return to Manchester United. In the meantime he has picked up where he left off last season, with the second strike in his current clubs 2-0 win over Villarreal beingthe footballer’s 11th of the season in La Liga in just six games. It was the continuation of a campaign that has seen Ronaldo racking up 21 Spanish premiership hat-tricks, and 25 in all for Real Madrid. Each of the hat-trick balls go on display in the CR7 Museum, which will be needing an extension at this rate. He now has 187 league goals in 170 games, closing in on the all time club record set up Raúl.