Ryanair boss dismisses TAP as “futureless”

 In Aviation, News, TAP

Outspoken and controversial Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has launched a fresh barrage of criticism against Portugal’s State airline TAP over the amount of cash the government has already ploughed into the national carrier and still plans to inject next year.

“Any company that needs €3.5Bn of State aid from a country with a population of just 10 million – thereby costing every an woman and child in Portugal €350 – is not only destined to failure. It deserves it”, he said in an interview with Jornal Económico.
“I can’t see any strategy in TAP. The strategy seems to be to charge Portuguese consumers the highest possible air fares and then, when there’s a crisis, expect the government to give it €2Bn-€Bn to bail it out,” he said.
In what seemed a pure, unvarnished attempt to dismiss the airline as irrelevant in Europe, while making no secret of his plan to make Ryanair the sole low-cost carrier on the continent he said:
“They (TAP) simply do not have much business. They do have a good service to Latin America and we accept that. TAP’s business is disappearing because they can’t compete with Ryanair, easyJet and the other low-fair airlines”, he added, pointing out that the airline used to run frequent flights to Porto but have now closed its base in Portugal’s second city.
O´Leary made it quite clear that TAP should disappear from Europe and make away for Ryanair, or get swallowed up by one pf the big three airlines: BA, Lufthansa and Iberia. “TAP is not the future for Portugal, Ryanair is. Any airline that needs €350 from every man, woman and child in Portugal (in taxes) is not only destined to fail, it deserves to fail”, said O’Leary.
O’Leary said that obviously TAP had a role to play in connecting to Latin American – Brazil, for historic reasons – but in short haul, TAP can’t compete and its business will continue to decline.
“I think the future of TAP is part of an alliance with an airline like British Airways or Iberia where those three airlines together would have a huge control over Latin American flights,” added the low cost airline boss.
He predicted that next year Ryanair would overtake TAP and become the largest airline flying to and from Portugal.
In the interview he denied he was concerned about upsetting the Portuguese government.
“This has got nothing to do with any government minister. We’re continuing to expand, we’ve opened a new base in Madeira with the help and support of the ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Transport, so I don’t think I’d be critical of the minister (Pedro Nuno Santos). We’re adding three more aircraft here in Lisbon, but we could add another three, four, five or six if TAP would simply hand over the slots that they are not using and cancelling on a weekly basis”.
O´Leary agreed that European aviation was too politicised and Alitalia like TAP (he referred to them both as “basket cases”) had “lost money for 75 years in a row in the case of the Italian airline”.
“The problem with the European airline industry is that it is inexorably moving in the same direction as the US did, leaving three large carriers, in Europe that will be ‘Lufthansa, Air France, BA and Iberia, and one large low fair airline in Europe which is going to be Ryanair.”
He made it clear it would be very difficult for any other (non-giant) airlines to find a role in that marketplace.
“I think in the next five years you will see more market consolidation; the high fare airlines will migrate towards one of the three large connecting airlines, the other low fare airlines will ultimately disappear, because they can’t compete with Ryanair on either (operation) cost or fares”, he said.
Saying he never saw TAP as a threat as a private airline, O’Leary pointed out that the average short haul ticket on the national carrier is €180 and that the airline “loses money nearly every year”, isn’t a threat to anybody, except the tax payers of Portugal.
“TAP keeps draining scarce tax payers funds away from Portuguese hospitals and schools, and flushes them down the TAP toilet,” concluded Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair.
Ever controversial, In February 2020, O’Leary suggested that airport security should focus on single Muslim men and called obese passengers “monsters”.
In April 2020, O’Leary compared Lufthansa AG to “a crack cocaine junkie looking for state aid.”
Now TAP is futureless and doesn’t deserve to exist.