Portugal’s national tourist board has hit back at Ryanair in a row over funding after the carrier accused it of rejecting a growth plan for Faro airport.
Turismo de Portugal accused Ryanair of cancelling winter flights to the Algarve after it refused to stump up additional cash and “regardless of funding [already] made available”.
The spat is the latest in a series between Ryanair and a succession of tourism authorities and airports.
Ryanair accused the tourist board of rejecting “a growth plan which would have increased winter traffic at Faro by as much as 35%, delivering more than 70,000 additional passengers”.
In a statement Ryanair said: “Turismo de Portugal reneged on its recent commitment to solve the challenges of seasonality in Faro and rejected Ryanair’s proposal.”
A Ryanair spokesman added: “It’s surprising an organisation whose brief is to promote tourism in the Algarve should ignore Europe’s largest carrier.”
Turismo de Portugal “vehemently denied” Ryanair’s claim, according to the English-language Portugal News.
The tourist board said: “It is not true that Turismo de Portugal has rejected an expansion plan for Faro airport, a matter that is not in our remit.”
However, the board said it did refuse to pay the amount Ryanair “demanded to reinforce its operations in the Algarve”.
Turismo de Portugal said: “Almost all of the flights contracted with Ryanair for the winter season were cancelled by the airline despite the incentives negotiated.
“In other words, Ryanair ... proposed the creation of new routes and flights for the Algarve which it then cancelled regardless of the funding made available.”
In a speech in Tenerife last month, Tui Travel chief executive Peter Long criticised authorities in the Canary Islands for offering financial incentives to Ryanair and urged the government “to treat all airlines equally”.
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