Last Tuesday was the day of the last regional flight connecting Bragança and Vila Real do Lisboa here in mainland Portugal. This route was the only regional route apart the conncetions between Lisboa Porto anda Faro in Portugal mainland and was operated since 2009 by AeroVip with a couple of Dornier 228.
This particular connection between the east-northern most region and the capital was due to the lack of access-abilities to those who live in Bragança and Vila Real and need to come to Lisbon. To “fight ” against the distance and the lack of highways or a decent and fast train connection the flights started in 1997 and always with the support of Portuguese Government as an essential service to the community. The Government support was in money nowadays at a maximum value of 2.5 Million Euros per year and varying with the number of passengers. The rest of the profits were taken from the ticket sales.
T contract with AeroVip ended on last January and since then the company has been flying 6 days a week as normal without the State compensation rather the aircraft is full or empty. This represented a debt of the State to AeroVip of eight hundred thousand Euros. AeroVip continued the flights after agreeing that with the Portuguese Government until a process to select the company who would held this connection for the upcoming years. Now the decision has been made by the Government and the Lisboa-Bragança regional flights will come to an abrupt end.
This represents to the people of Bragança region a set back in time and proximity with the rest of the country and a increase of hours and money spent to come to Lisboa.
To AeroVip the year isn’t going as good as they wanted to and this represents the end of it’s only regular route witch will lead to end contracts of some employees.
Now as my personal opinion probably Bragança will receive it’s so waited highway soon or later and the construction costs will be astronomical probably in a “coffee table” business delivered to a “friend” of someone. At the end people to come to Lisbon and use the new highway will pay tolls at values that almost touch stupidity and continue to feed the disbelieve in politicians and public defense of interests in Portugal.