British Airways will connect London to the islands of São Miguel and Terceira in the summer of 2022, providing more than 3,000 seats, the president of the Azores Tourism Association (ATA) said on Wednesday.
“This new operation provides 1,800 seats to Ponta Delgada and 1,440 seats to Terceira, for a total of 3,240 available seats and a potential of 22,680 overnight stays,” the president of the ATA, Carlos Morais, said at a press conference in Ponta Delgada.
The operation will start in the summer of 2022, with 10 scheduled flights between London’s Heathrow airport and Ponta Delgada airport on Sao Miguel island, on Saturdays, between July 2 and September 3.
BA will use a 180-seater A-320 Neo aircraft and will also link Heathrow airport with Lajes airport on the island of Terceira on Sundays between July 10 and August 28, with a total of eight flights.
The operation, which is the result of a partnership between the ATA, the Azores Regional Government, ANA, which manages Ponta Delgada airport, and the Aerogare Civil das Lajes, which manages Terceira airport, will represent an investment of approximately€400,000 in promoting tourism in the Azores in the United Kingdom, according to the president of the ATA.
Carlos Morais pointed out that in 2019, the UK ranked seventh in the ‘ranking’ of overnight stays by international markets in the Azores, with a total of 93,494 overnight stays.
“The UK market is one of the strategic markets for the Azores and in terms of tourist flows,” he pointed out.
In the case of Terceira island, compared to the number of overnight stays recorded in 2019 (5,266), this operation has the potential to almost double growth.
“The Azores destination has all the characteristics to position itself effectively with this market. However, some challenges need to be worked on. It is not enough to have guaranteed air accessibility, because the demand for the Azores is currently limited,” he said.
The regional secretary for transport, tourism and energy, Mário Mota Borges, admitted that the United Kingdom has not been one of the leading markets in terms of demand for the Azores, but considered that it may climb that ranking in the coming years.
“We have high expectations concerning the flows that may be captured and generated in the future,” he said.u