Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) has announced the opening of a new base at Funchal, Madeira in the third quarter of 2022, the Irish budget carrier’s fifth base in Portugal.

The airline in a statement said it would base two aircraft on the island, representing an investment of USD200 million, while creating 60 direct new jobs.

The new base will see the introduction of ten routes – five of which are to new destinations - and 40 weekly flights, connecting Madeira with mainland Portugal and with six other European countries.

The ten routes include Brussels Charleroi (Belgium); Dublin Int'l (Ireland); Lisbon and Porto (Portugal); London Stansted and Manchester Int'l (UK); Marseilles and Paris Beauvais (France), Milan Bergamo (Italy); and Nuremberg (Germany).

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, the new destinations include Milan, Dublin, Marseilles, and Paris Beauvais (Paris Orly served by Transavia France (TO, Paris Orly)), while Nuremberg is currently only served on a charter basis by Corendon Airlines Europe (XR, Malta Int'l).

In total, Ryanair will operate more than 160 Portuguese routes next summer to 15 countries, the carrier said.

Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Eddie Wilson used the opportunity to take a swipe at the Portuguese government's EUR3.2 billion euros (USD3.5 billion) aid to flag carrier TAP Air Portugal (TP, Lisbon). He also again called on the government to open Montijo airport, to scrap an ill-timed aviation tax which is effectively a direct tax on tourism, and to introduce a non-discriminatory traffic recovery scheme..."all of which could be easily funded with the EUR3.2 billion of wasteful state aid", he charged.

Ryanair for months has been at odds with Lisbon over its protection of TAP. In May 2021, it initially won a legal challenge in the European Court against EUR1.2 billion (USD1.35 billion) COVID-19 state compensation provided to TAP, but the court ruling was overturned by the European Commission in July 2021. Brussels is still investigating if Portugal's proposed EUR3.2 billion restructuring support to TAP complies with EU regulations.