Ryanair cancels 700 flights at Lisbon this winter, attacks TAP’s “hoarding of take-off and landing slots”

Ryanair has made this announcement:

Ryanair has confirmed it has been forced to cancel 700 flights and three Lisbon routes (to Tours, Oujda and Bari) this Winter due to TAP’s continued hoarding of take-off and landing slots (which TAP does not use) at Lisbon Portela Airport. This anti-competitive “slot blocking” has prevented Ryanair from obtaining sufficient slots (despite the assistance of the slot coordinator and the airport operator), for planned new route growth. TAP’s plan to cut its fleet by 20% means it simply cannot use all the slots it holds.

The airline continued;

These cancelled flights will damage Lisbon’s connectivity and post-Covid recovery. The Portuguese Government and the European Commission must now intervene to end TAP’s anti-competitive “slot blocking”, free up this UNUSED capacity at Lisbon Portela and open Lisbon Montijo Airport to allow airlines to grow. It is essential that Portugal’s critical national infrastructure is used to support the local economy and not abused to protect an inefficient zombie airline, which the Portuguese Government has already wasted €3 billion of taxpayers’ money on.

Ryanair will keep all seven aircraft (a $700 m investment) and crew in place in Lisbon this Winter to ensure it is ready and able to reinstate all flights if sufficient slots are freed up.