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Government of the Azores Announcement / Visit Azores - Ryanair operations continue in the Azores
Ryanair remains in the Azores and will continue the operation it has been developing for Terceira and São Miguel, with domestic and international flights, adjusting it to demand and mitigating the risk of the operation.

After long and difficult conversations between the Region, the airline, Turismo de Portugal and ANA Aeroportos de Portugal, it is with natural satisfaction that we note the good result obtained with the work carried out in this process, ensuring the continuity of the operation of domestic flights , as well as international connections to strategic markets.

In addition to connections Lisbon - Ponta Delgada and Porto -Ponta Delgada, as well as Lisbon - Terceira and Porto -Terceira, there will also be, during the summer, connections to Stansted (London, United Kingdom) and Nuremberg (Germany), which already have prospects reinforcement in 2025 compared to the operation scheduled for 2024.

During the IATA winter, Ryanair's operations will be adapted to the company's expected demand and will evolve in line with the growth in demand and the expected increase in tourism in the Region, making new flights available in accordance with market behavior.

Ryanair's operation to the Azores will have at least around 2,032 flights annually. During the IATA winter, for now, there will be two weekly LIS-PDL frequencies, 2 OPO-PDL, 2 LIS-TER and 2 OPO-TER, subject to evolution depending on demand. In the IATA summer, there will be 13 weekly LIS-PDL, 7 OPO-PDL, 1 STN-PDL and 1 NUE-PDL weekly frequencies, as well as 4 LIS-TER and 2 OPO-TER. Each of these frequencies represents two flights (round trip), thus totaling 352 flights in the IATA Winter and 1,680 flights in the IATA Summer.

The difficult talks with Ryanair were systematically subject to several structural obstacles, completely unrelated to the Region, but which conditioned all the work and which will condition the operation now announced.

Among these obstacles, the current constraints and lack of capacity at Lisbon airport stand out, with the consequent limitation of slots.

The impasse in the decision on the location and construction of Lisbon's new international airport is, increasingly, a cause for great concern, as has already been warned by the Government of the Azores.

This is already seriously affecting the possibility of developing air connectivity for the Azores, presenting itself as an undeniable limiting factor for the sustainability of tourism as an expanding economic sector and, consequently, as a penalizing obstacle to the socio-economic development of the Region.

Furthermore, according to Ryanair, the profitability of its IATA winter operation is seriously affected due to a significant increase in costs for the company, namely due to:

1) the decision by ANA Aeroportos de Portugal to increase airport taxes in Ponta Delgada, despite the peripheral nature of the Region, a situation that has since been minimized;

2) costs arising from increases in fuel prices;

3) the reform of the ETS (Emissions Trading System) applicable to international flights (only) from the European Union (EU) to the Azores, which from Ryanair's perspective makes destinations outside the EU more competitive, mentioning, as an example, Morocco and Turkey .

In addition, the entire negotiation process was severely affected by the delayed response (already outdated) from the Government of the Republic regarding the reduction in security rates and the respective publication by decree, something Ryanair has been demanding for a long time.

Nevertheless, the Azores have registered an increasing evolution in tourist demand over the last three years, as a result of the recognized work that the Government of the Azores and Visit Azores have developed, in terms of tourism promotion, in the main source markets, as well as in attracting of new airlines and new routes operating to the destination. Since 2021, the Region has received new airline operations, from international companies such as Lufthansa (Frankfurt), Swiss Air (Geneva), Iberia (Madrid), British Airways (London), Transavia (Paris and Amsterdam), Edelweiss (Zurich) and United Airlines (New York), in addition to good work opening new routes by Azores Airlines.

In particular for the IATA winter, a reinforcement of domestic connections is planned, from Azores Airlines and TAP, taking advantage of opportunities in the new context of air connectivity to the Azores, covering Terceira and Ponta Delgada.

Given this dynamic of tourist growth and the development of external connectivity and the attractiveness of the destination, the Government and Visit Azores express their conviction in a continuous growth in demand and in the creation of increasingly better opportunities to expand existing operations during increasingly greater throughout the year.

According to the recently approved Azores Tourism Strategic and Marketing Plan 2030, the objectives are the consolidation of the sector, the mitigation of seasonality and the ability to disperse tourist flows across the nine islands of the Region.

With the availability of flights in the Ryanair sales system from today and throughout the next week, a long and difficult process that ensures the external connectivity of the Region and the maintenance of the Azores in the giant promotional and distribution network of the Ryanair.

From a strategic point of view, more than the number of flights, it is important, above all, to keep Ryanair linked to the Azores and thus ensure the presence of the Azores in the large distribution channel that this airline has throughout Europe.

This is a factor of the greatest relevance in this process, as it contributes to the exposure and notoriety of the destination and to the ease of reaching the end consumer in all markets where Ryanair operates.

Government of the Azores and the Board of Directors of Visit Azores.

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