Ferry stranded without Portuguese subsidy?
Earlier this week all seven of the companies interested in re-introducing the ferry link between Madeira and mainland Portugal announced that they could not submit viable offers to run the operation without direct subsidies. At a press conference on Wednesday, Eduardo Jesus, Regional Secretary for Economy, Tourism and Culture, explained that the Madeiran Government had already offered “a highly attractive package” of incentives including relief port taxes (with full exemption in the first year), as well as passenger subsidies covering up to half of the ticket price. In addition the Regional Government were prepared to fund an advertising campaign worth €80,000. However all seven of the bidders still found that in order to make the numbers add up they required additional direct compensation. It is not clear whether the companies are acting jointly or independently, but none made a concrete proposal before the deadline for submissions expired at the year-end.
In an effort to keep the project alive President of the Regional Government, Miguel Albuquerque, has apparently written to the Portuguese Prime Minister requesting further support for the resumption of the ferry service – specifically a legal change that would qualify the transport link to be of “national public interest” and thereby qualify for state compensation.Despite the outcome, Eduardo Jesus said that “the Government does not end the process. It starts now a new phase….which will build on the work done in recent months”, He did not indicate the amount of compensation required to make the service viable, but Naviera Armas, the previous ferry operators, reportedly made a loss of €6 million during the last year of operation, although oil prices have subsequently plummeted.
Portuguese airport investment
Management company ANA will invest over €74 million during 2016 at its five airports in Lisbon, Faro, Porto, Madeira and the Azores according to today’s Journal. The biggest spend will be in Lisbon, where €33.5 million will be invested in improving baggage check-in and security at Terminal 1 – this is already underway and will be completed in May. €2.6 million will be spent as a “quick fix” at Terminal 2, where there is a bottleneck as a result of the increase in low-cost flights.
Faro airport will receive the second largest investment this year, at €25 million, and the Azores €5.9 million. Porto and Funchal come last with a spend of €4 million each – in the case of Funchal this may include work recently undertaken.
It is not often that crime makes the news on this island, but there seems to have been a bit of an outbreak just recently. The Diario reports that in the first instance a taxi driver was robbed and stabbed by a passenger in the early hours of Tuesday in Boa Nova on the outskirts of Funchal. The offender was quickly apprehended and remains in custody. In the second case a Dutch couple had a wallet containing around €2000 snatched whilst walking in the Lido area yesterday afternoon. A young man and woman made off by car, but witnesses noted the registration and they were subsequently arrested in Camacha. €1500 was recovered after the couple had reportedly been to a restaurant, bought drugs and put some new tyres on the car.
You have to question the sense behind going for a stroll with a wallet containing passports and other documents, debit cards and €2000 in cash, even in the safest of locations.