Saturday, 5 September 2009

Anna AERO article on Ryanair Porto Base

See here:

My comments:

Of particular note, is the Porto to Faro route.

This is only the second time that an non-Portuguese Airline has been given traffic rights to operate domestic flights within Portugal. The first was a year ago when Easyjet began operating Lisbon to Funchal, Madeira after years of complaints from residents of Maderia about TAP/Air Portugal’s high prices and monopoly on that route.

Although much demanded, no airline has previously operated Porto to Faro. This has meant that it has been faster to get to UK and German airports from Faro than to the north of Portugal. By air, one has had to transit Lisbon on TAP/Air Portugal or take a 7/8 hour train or bus ride between the two regions.

Apart from tourists and families, I suspect that the biggest demand may be from University Students travelling North and South as there is a fairly large University in Faro.

I hope the route succeeds, but reserve my judgement. Two years ago, Ryanair launched services from Spain. The Madrid to Faro route should have been successful but was pulled after 8 months owing to only 48% average loadings.

My opinion, for what it is worth, was that the route was not publicised enough in the local and expat media in the Algarve and the far south-west of Spain around Huelva, showing Madrid as destination for week-end breaks. Many people were not aware of the service till it was too late.

Nor was Madrid Barajas promoted as an airline hub access point with onward access to many more destinations than Lisbon. Finally, the route was initiated as a daily service and then frequencies were reduced. It should have been the other way around.

I hope that the same mistakes will not be made with the Porto route. It needs to be publicised in the local Algarve Portuguese and Expat media. As regards the Algarve portuguese media, this needs to include billboard adverts near Faro Airport, and advertising on local tv/radio as many more locals listen to radio and watch national TV than read papers.

By the way, the Algarve (Faro FAO), still needs the Faro - Madrid route back!