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Thierry Ligonnière said at a hearing at the Madeira Legislative Assembly that the increasing frequency of strong winds and low visibility is the main reason for canceling flights at the airport in the Autonomous Region, which has a “significant impact” on the economy of airlines. 

“And there are already consequences: an airline – Volotea – announced that it would stop flying to Madeira because of the irregularities and cancellations caused by the weather,” he said, noting that “two more airlines are threatening to your connections in Madeira. “

Thierry Ligonnière, who had been consulted in an inquiry into TAP’s management policy for Madeira, indicated that the percentage of flights canceled by meteorological reasons up to September 2018 was 4%. 

Since ANA assumed management of airport infrastructure in Portugal in 2012, the number of flights affected by bad weather in the autonomous region has been growing globally: 0.76% in that year; 1.22% in 2013; 1.63% in 2014;1.38% in 2015; 2.76% in 2016; 3.42% in 2017.

The official pointed out, however, that for the studies under way – conducted by the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) – with a view to eventually changing the wind limits at Madeira Airport, which are mandatory, a situation which he acknowledged to be unique in the universe of 44 airports managed in several countries by Vinci, company owner of ANA. 

Despite the weather conditions, Thierry Ligonnière stressed that the air link between Madeira and Portugal has been growing over the last few years, and in the case of Lisbon was another 4% in 2018.

“The interest of ANA is to increase the volume of passengers,” he said, noting, on the other hand, that there are negotiations with the Regional Government of Madeira to open the market to one more airline, to operate regularly between the region and continent. 

“Our teams are constantly working together to develop competition with three airlines, which has a regulatory effect on prices,” he said. 

The ANA administrator told MPs that the company applied 6% of the regular revenue in incentives to companies flying to Madeira, in order to stimulate the frequency and maintenance of the route, for a total of 900 thousand euros (7 cents per passenger).

“In 2019, we are aiming for an increase of incentives to 8% of regular revenue to reach a total of 1.5 million euros of financial aid to airlines, which is about 1 euro per passenger,” he said. 

Thierry Ligonnière said on the other hand that ANA’s policy on airport charges points to a convergence of prices, revealing that in relation to Madeira there was a reduction of 6.2% since 2012. 

“And we will continue in this trend in 2019 “he said.

Translation from RTP Madeira