easyJet threatens negative impact on Madeira economy
Thanks to Peter for this link, to what is a serious threat to the island from easyJet, one of the
. José Lopes, director of easyJet for Portugal, insists on the intention of the airline to stop flying from Lisbon to Funchal, but also from other European destinations to the Madeiran capital, which will have a much more negative impact on the Madeiran economy and tourism serious, in terms of revenue, employment, closing companies, among others.
Speaking today to Jornal Económico, José Lopes said that he intends to threaten politicians to move forward with this measure, announcing the intention to speak to parties with parliamentary seats and to request hearings from Pedro Nuno Santos, Minister of Infrastructure, and the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
With around 600,000 passengers transported to and from Madeira every year, easyJet is the second-largest operator for the archipelago at the moment, he points out.
So, if the measure really goes ahead – something that José Lopes estimates will cost the state coffers around €200 million already in 2020 – easyJet will proceed with a complaint against the Portuguese State in the European Commission, and the Regional Government of Madeira being another target of this offensive in the courts of the airline, he announces.
easyJet threat: they will be unable to implement new mobility model
At issue is the new system approved by the Assembly of the Republic, reported here, which provides that passengers resident in Madeira only pay €86 and the airlines will then have to do accounts with the State and receive the difference. A model that easyJet is unable to “implement”, guarantees the person in charge, who explains the problem.
The proposed model will “create a sales flow for residents that is completely different from non-resident passengers. It is a complex, technical issue, a lengthy process. We haven’t been able to do that in less than two years. And we are sure, we know that no airline that flies to Madeira today agrees that it should replace the State in a relationship with the taxpayer. Technically, these routes are no longer public services, but liberalized. Then, there is the economic question, because this minimum limit of €86 will pull the real tariffs that still exist today in an inflated way”, he stresses.
Thus, José Lopes mentions that the solution must go through “fixing an average annual value for the ticket, adjusted to seasonality so that the passenger is held responsible”. In the meantime, the airline is waiting “to check if there will be a budget allocation for this measure in the OE 2020. And there will have to be a specific ordinance for this law”.
Transavia also unable to continue flights
And he leaves a warning threat: “if this measure goes ahead, easyJet stops flying domestic flights to Madeira, that is, between Lisbon and Funchal. Transavia, which makes the Porto-Funchal route, has also said that it is unable to continue flying to Madeira. TAP said that it was opposed to this measure in the Economy Committee, as a matter of principle and treasury, but of course, if it started to fly alone to Madeira, it would benefit from a monopoly regime ”.
“With this measure, easyJet is being expelled from the domestic routes to Madeira”, he laments, leaving a worrying caveat. “This measure may force the cancellation of other routes that easyJet has to Madeira: from Basel (Switzerland), Berlin (Germany), Bristol, London and Manchester (England)”.
For these reasons, he criticizes this decision, which he classifies as “completely irrational, abnormal and totally irresponsible”.
As part of the threat from easyJet “We are going to talk to all the political parties. We will ask the President of the Republic for an urgent hearing. We have already requested an urgent hearing from the supervising minister, Pedro Nuno Santos, Minister of Infrastructure, but we have not yet obtained a satisfactory answer because we have been told that there is no agenda available ”, he stresses.
And he leaves the guarantee: “we go to the last legal consequences. We will file a complaint against the Portuguese State at the European Commission. We are still considering whether the Regional Government of Madeira could also be covered by this complaint because it is involved in the genesis of the problem. It is something that we will have to evaluate with our legal area. We will defend the rights of our passengers to the last consequences”, he concludes.