Direct flight cancellation Faro-New York is “bad news” but there is no need to “throw in the towel”

André Gomes and Hélder Martins consider that, even without direct flights, the North American market will continue to grow in 2024

It's "a shame" and "bad news", but that doesn't mean it's a reason to "throw in the towel" and, much less, to relax the focus on a "very important" market. This is the opinion shared by both the president of Turismo do Algarve, and the person responsible for AHETA, the main association of Algarve hoteliers, in reaction cancellation of the direct flight between Faro and New York, this summer.

A new connection, announced in October and which was generating great expectations, was supposed to start on May 24th and last until the end of the summer. However, it has now become known that United Airlines, the company that will operate this flight, has decided to cancel the operation this year and postpone the start of the new route until 2025 direct between the Algarve and the United States of America.

Although «there is still no official confirmation from United», André Gomes, president of the Algarve Tourism Region and ATA -Associação Turismo Algarve, admits that the announced operation will no longer start this year.

«But this does not change our strategy in any way in relation to a market whose importance is evident and which has grown 70% since the pandemic», he stated.


André Gomes – Photo: Nuno Costa | Sul Informação


Hélder Martins, president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve, also refuses to «throw in the towel», especially because the interest of people on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean in this connection is well known.

«It's a shame and bad news considering that, according to the information I had, sales were going very well», he considered.

It was not a commercial issue that motivated this postponement, but rather the fact that United Airlines was being audited by the federal regulatory body, due to safety issues detected on the airline's planes.

On the Algarve Tourism side, even with this postponement, the promotional actions aimed at the North American market that were planned will continue.

«We have 15 actions planned for 2024, aimed at the North American market, and we intend to carry them all out. We will maintain the strategy as we outlined it. It continues to be a strategic market, with enormous potential», assured André Gomes.


Helder Martins – Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


After all, despite the cancellation, United Airlines is offering alternatives to those who had already purchased a ticket to travel between Faro and New York, albeit with a stopover, together with partner companies from Europe, including TAP.

On the other hand, there is a direct flight between Toronto, Canada, and Faro, operated by Air Transat, as well as the direct connection between the Algarve and Ponta Delgada, operated by SATA, an Azorean company that connects this island to «several points in the United States».

Hélder Martins, despite everything, believes that this postponement of the start of direct flights will lead to fewer American tourists in the Algarve than expected this summer, although he has no doubt that «the market will continue to grow», regardless of this contradiction.

«They may not come directly, but they will come anyway. We will maintain the investment, designed for three years. We will not have the flight in 2024, 2025 and 2026, we will have it in 2025, 2026 and 2027», concluded André Gomes.


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