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Ryanair’s future in the Algarve could be “bright” due to Thomas Cook collapse, says O’Leary

On the side-lines of the ceremony yesterday, in which Ryanair granted a 250,000 euros of customer-raised donations to the Monchique reforestation efforts that are part of the “Renature” project, Irish airline CEO Michael O’Leary made time to comment on the recent controversy over the possible closure of the company’s base in Faro.

The airline boss, who has had his finger the Faro airport pie for more than 20 years, affirmed that “there have been some disputes with workers recently, but everything has been settled”. O’Leary justifies this turmoil as being rooted in problems associated the delivery of Boeing aircraft this winter, which are arriving “in smaller quantities than predicted”, leaving the bases without enough aircraft for normal operation.

Moreover, according to the CEO, “Faro loses us money in the winter. We only make a profit in the summer, and for all this the base should really close. Just yesterday I came on a flight with 20 people. It is a mistake when people think that this base is profitable all year round, we need to explain that it is not quite so.”

The dicey scenario put forward a few weeks back, when it seemed as if the base would be fully closing, was reversible thanks to a “direct agreement with the employees, pilots and cabin staff and therefore we will continue in Faro. We continue to lose money, but less than before thanks to this understanding.” The current deal “is for four or five years”, but O’Leary seemed to think it would not be changing after that period either.

“The future is bright for Ryanair here in the Algarve. We are already the largest airline and next year we will announce even more new routes. We will bring people from all corners of Europe here.”

The airline boss pointed out that “unlike Ryanair, there are airlines that only fly to the Algarve in June, July and August, and then disappear. What we are trying to do is consolidate routes that are open all year round with a big investment in golf.”

He explained further: “Golf brings people in October, November, February and March. That’s why Monchique is so important. These are the activities that people can do in the winter period.”

Mr. O’Leary seems to believe that recent events have also pushed Ryanair to a starting point for a “bright future” as “the Faro base, which does well in the high season, will continue to grow more in the low season, especially now with the bankruptcy of other companies like Thomas Cook ».

In addition, he points out that once Boeing regularises its aircraft supply, “more will be allocated to Faro, which will allow the base to be expanded”.

Brexit, of course, is also “always worrying” for Mr. O’Leary, who pointed to the “British people’s legendary ability to shoot themselves in the foot, which will continue until there are no feet left to take shots at.”

“I hope, like everyone else, that there is a common sense agreement that Brexit will be a harmonious process between the European Union and the United Kingdom. What everyone wants is to avoid a litigious exit- that would be very bad for the Algarve, for the country, and for Ryanair, ” concluded Mr. O’Leary.