Ryanair, Europe's biggest budget airline, is expanding its business in Portugal and is ready to jump into the long-drawn-out fight over where and whether and when Lisbon gets a second airport.
The second airport issue has been kicking around for years, and is the subject of political and environmental conflict in Portugal, as well as the butt of many jokes as the project has moved to the verge of construction several times, been postponed several times, and referred to research committees several times. If you're curious to follow it, here's a link to the eight times we've covered the issue over the past five years.
Ryanair, as part of its announcement of 14 new routes, is demanding that Portugal move ahead immediately with the original airport proposal, the conversion of a nearby air force base at Montijo into a commercial airport, relieving crowding at the current airport and producing more competition.
CEO Michael O'Leary made the announcement, saying that "We are delighted to announce the biggest schedule for the summer of 2024 in Portugal, where we continue to grow and open 14 new routes. But unfortunately [...] the high fees of the ANA (Portugal's state-owned airport operator) monopoly are forcing airlines like Ryanair to reduce regional flights to/from Portugal. We demand that the Portuguese Government immediately open Montijo airport to end ANA's monopoly on high fees in Lisbon forever."
Although, apparently, the fees are not forcing Ryanair to reduce its flights.