In a statement the company says: “This value is equivalent to €260 euros for each man, woman and child in Portugal, for an airline that transports only 14 million passengers a year.
“Ryanair has previously called on Commissioner Vestager to ensure that any state aid to TAP is accompanied by realistic competition measures that would reduce the dominance of TAP's slots at Lisbon Airport. In this way, it would be possible to practice promoting competition and consumer interest.
“TAP and the Portuguese Government have confirmed TAP's fleet reduction plan by 30%, which means that the Portuguese airline will not be able to use all the slots at Lisbon Airport in the summer of 2022. However, Commissioner Vestager demanded that TAP only delivered 18 of these slots per day (less than 5% of the total number of slots in Lisbon), and only from November 2022, which allows TAP to continue to block them in the Portuguese capital and continue to hinder the operation competition and the choice of low-cost airlines such as Ryanair”.
The company goes on to asks Commissioner Vestager: “What reasons led her to conclude that the divestment of less than 5% of TAP's slots in Lisbon - and only from November 2022 - is an adequate solution in the light of the enormous distortion of competition that will follow in Lisbon with 2.6 billion euros made available to TAP to make sales below cost”.
According to Michael O'Leary, CEO of the Ryanair Group: “There is no economic justification for granting an airline like TAP more than 2.6 billion euros in state aid, protecting it from competition at Lisbon's Portela Airport. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager clearly erred by not requiring TAP to deliver at least 30% of its daily slots in Lisbon, equivalent to a 30% reduction in its fleet. The Commissioner's decision to postpone this minimum delivery of 5%, equivalent to 18 daily slots, from summer to winter 2022, further harms competition and consumer choices in Lisbon and will delay the recovery of Portela Airport, during the pandemic.
“We call on Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to stop granting state aid to dead-end domestic airlines, and to start promoting competition and consumer interest by accelerating significant slot divestments as early as possible, even when domestic airlines are paid billions of euros in wasted state aid".