As previously reported in the blog, the leadership candidate of the PSD-M party has increased the likelihood of the re-introduction of the ARMAS ferry should he be voted into power. Thanks to everybody who drew attention to this in the “Comments” section of the previous blog.
The candidate for the leadership of the PSD-M and former deputy executive of Madeira, Miguel de Sousa, met in the Canaries yesterday with executives of Naviera Armas, the company which between 2008 and 2012 delivered the maritime link between Las Palmas, Funchal and Portimão and vice versa. The outcome of the meeting was an assurance from Antonio Armas that the shipping company will return to the island in the right political circumstances. After the trip to Las Palmas, Miguel de Sousa told the Diario that Naviera Armas had been hurt by the way it was treated in the region in late 2011 and early 2012. “We talked at length about the closure…..I got to know the different situations and obstacles experienced by the operator. I am able to say that, if elected the President of the Regional Government, the conditions for the immediate resumption of the maritime operations of Armas, which is the desire of most islanders, will be created” (photo: Miguel de Sousa with Antonio Armas on Tuesday).
Naviera Armas announced on January 27, 2012 that it was discontinuing the Madeira stop-over. At the time operator blamed the Government for the decision after it refused a request for reduction of port charges made by the Spanish company (the ferry is pictured below in Portimão, although most Armas operations are in the Canaries).
A regional election will be held in Madeira in October 2015 to determine the composition of the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. The election will be the first in which the current President of the Region, Alberto João Jardim, will not be on the ballot paper as he has already stated that he would step down as President and leader of the PSD-Madeira in January 2015. The PSD-Madeira will elect a new leader in December 2014 and the winner will become President of the Regional Government and will contest this election. Can’t imagine a Madeira without AJJ………….
Selvagens “invaded” by protestors
The two separatists who landed on the Sevagems are still in place according to the Diario (the Journal reports four activists, while the photo shows three?). According to press agency Lusa, the activists remain “on the ground”, awaiting a decision by the Portuguese Navy, who sent a patrol ship to the islands on Tuesday. The same source also said that the Navy inspected a fishing boat that was moored nearby,
The group of activists belonging to Alternativa Nacionalista Canária (ANC) “landed” on Monday, planting a nationalist flag in protest against the oil prospecting planned for the area, and claiming sovereignty over the Portuguese archipelago, which lies closer to the Canaries than Madeira. An ANC spokesman told Lusa that the movement does not want “any open conflict with Portugal” – which has sovereignty over the islands – but wants to “sensitize the Portuguese to the problem of oil prospecting”. He explained that the ANC supports the independence of the Canary Islands and in that scenario, “one would have to talk to Portugal”, suggesting that “a median line be drawn with Madeira, which would put the Selvagens in Canarian territory ” – the islands are closer to the Canaries than to Madeira (165 kilometres north of the Canary Islands and 250 kilometres south of Funchal) and the territory has been at the centre of some controversy for a while, mostly due to mineral rights.
BA recommence Madeira flights
Again, thanks to those who commented on British Airways announcement that it is to resume operations to and from Madeira next year from its base at Gatwick. The flights start on May 11th next year and will use A319 and A320 aircraft. The sale of tickets begins today with three weekly flights during the summer months and two each week over the winter.
The new route means that an extra 20,000 seats will become available and the announcement has the full support of the Madeiran and Portuguese tourist boards which are helping pay for the privilege – British Airways stopped flying to Madeira when the skies were opened to low-cost carriers with easyJet quickly opening up a route to the island. Airports operator ANA has admitted that the Gatwick – Madeira route will be subsidised by the Portuguese taxpayer through support payments to British Airways from the local Madeiran tourist board and the national Portuguese tourist board, in addition to payments from the airport management company, although this arrangement is apparently no different to deals done with the low-cost carriers.
World Tourism Day – free museum entry
The 27th of September sees free entry to museums and gardens to celebrate World Tourism Day. The official visitmadeira web site is not particularly forthcoming with details, so if anybody comes across them can they post a link please?