Ryanair (FR, Dublin International) has announced it will be reducing its operations at the Portuguese airports of Porto and Faro as a result of a dispute with local airport operator ANA Aeroportos de Portugal and, by extension, concession holder Vinci SA.

The capacity reduction will affect 40 routes the LCC runs out of its Faro and Porto bases this summer season. According to ch-aviation fleets data, Faro is a crew base for a total of two airlines and Porto is a base for four. Ryanair’s other Portuguese bases are Funchal and Lisbon.

“We are appalled that the Portuguese regulator, ANAC, has rubber-stamped ANA’s monopoly airport charge increases of up to 17% from January 2024,” said Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson in a press release. “This bizarre decision will have a devastating impact on Portugal’s connectivity, tourism growth, and jobs, especially in Madeira and the Azores where Ryanair has already closed its Ponta Delgada base and removed one of our two aircraft from Madeira – a loss of USD100m investment – due to ANA’s excessive charges,” he added.

Ryanair added that Lisbon airport charges increased by 50% in comparison to 2019 which goes against the European trend of cutting passenger fees at airports to aid recovery. The company also called on the Portuguese government to reverse the airport fee hike.

The carrier is a strong supporter of opening the new Montijo Airport near Lisbon which would act as competition to Lisbon but would also alleviate pressure on the downtown airport.

Discussions over the new airport have been going on for years and are a contentious topic ahead of Portugal’s March 10 election, with the opposition supporting Montijo as the location of the new airport while former infrastructure minister Pedro Nuno Santos backs Alcochete, the pricier option which has greater expansion potential. Local media reported that public consultations on the exact future spot for the new aerodrome have now been extended to January 26, 2024.