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Horta ,  April 10, 2019

Azoreans can count on the Government to develop each of the nine islands, says Ana Cunha

The Regional Secretary for Transport and Public Works stated in Horta that the Azoreans "know that they can count on the Regional Government" and that the Government "will continue to be committed to the development of each of the nine islands of the Azores."
Ana Cunha spoke at the Legislative Assembly during an interpellation on tourism and transport. On the occasion, she noted that the Government is always aware that "if one does not make mistakes, one does not make anything as setbacks are faced by those who chose action over inertia," adding that this does not prevent the Government from moving forward with its action.
The Secretary for Transport recalled that the Regional Government has presented "clearly positive results" in this area.
In this context, the government official mentioned "the biggest reform to be carried out in terms of air mobility with the implementation of model stipulating new public service obligations in the Horta, Pico and Santa Maria gateways, coupled with the liberalisation of access to the Terceira and Ponta Delgada gateways. All these measures are complemented by the social assistance policy for mobility, which resulted in the implementation of a social mobility aid for passengers and students residing in the Azores."
"Additionally, the passenger transport to the islands without gateway was another policy implemented in this revision process," Ana Cunha said, highlighting "the largest reduction ever in the price of inter-island fares, reaching an average reduction of 20% and establishing a maximum price of 120 euros and intermediate prices of 90, 100 and 60 Euros. "
"Since then, a lot has changed in our Region and in the development of our economy," stated the government official.
Ana Cunha highlighted the growth in the number of passengers landing in the Region. According to her, "1.6 million passengers landed in the Region last year, that is, 711 thousand more passengers than in 2014, which corresponds to an increase of 78% in four years."
The number of passengers landed on domestic flights increased from 336 thousand in 2014 to 745 thousand in 2018, corresponding to a growth of 122%. In fact, these figures account for more than the number of passengers in 2014, the year prior the entry of the new transport model," added the government official.
According to the Regional Secretary, "the growth trend of passengers landing in the Region will remain." In months of January and February, 9,600 more passengers landed in the Region compared with the same months of 2018. On the occasion, she also reminded that "all this is reflected on the tourism sector and the regional economy."
In her speech, Ana Cunha also stressed that SATA will increase its seat offer at SATA Air Azores and SATA - Azores Airlines this IATA summer, which has already started." This summer, the regional airline "will offer this summer 692 thousand seats in inter-island operations and 820 thousand seats in operations to and from the Azores."
Moreover, Ana Cunha stated that Azores Airlines "will carry out 42 weekly flights from the USA and Canada, plus 18 weekly flights from Europe, Cape Verde and the Canary Islands with destination to Ponta Delgada and the Lajes." As for domestic flights, the airline will carry out another four weekly flights, providing more than 30 thousand seats," while there will also be "an increase of inter-island operations with the provision of more than 40 thousand seats than in the same period of last year."
The Regional Secretary also addressed the Regional Government's investment in regional airports and aerodromes. As she emphasised, "these interventions represented an investment of 4.1 million Euros between 2015 and 2018. Currently, there are ongoing investments amounting to 6.5 million Euros and already approved investments of about 10 million Euros."
Regarding maritime passenger transport, Ana Cunha highlighted the "consistent" evolution that has taken place as evidenced by "the number of passengers transported in the seasonal operation of Atlânticoline increased from 66,578 in 2013 to 70,577 in 2018, corresponding to a 6% increase." In terms of regular operations, a total of 396,936 passengers were transported in 2013, i.e., the year before the entry into operation of the new ferries, while the figures grew to 498 thousand in 2018, representing a 23% increase."
"It is a fact that the operation suffered some setbacks with repercussions on its results due to the misfortune of the vessel "Mestre Simão" last year," stated the Regional Secretary. In this regard, she recalled that the Government did not lower its arms "in the face of adversity" and "the process for replacing "Mestre Simão" with another identical vessel, although larger and with more capacity for vehicle transport, began immediately."
"The new vessel currently under construction, is due to enter into operation in the last quarter of this year. The vessel is expected to be launched very shortly, which will be followed by final preparations, sea trials, the awarding of certifications and the delivery of the vessel in Horta," stated the government official.
With this new vessel, which is due to enter into operation later this year, "we will be able to recover in terms of passengers and vehicles transported, as the Region will have two ferries, and to improve the quality of the service provided."
Ana Cunha also mentioned regional port infrastructures, where the Regional Government has been investing "and will continue to do so," both in terms of infrastructures and equipment deemed necessary.
The Regional Secretary recalled that "more than 35.8 million Euros have been invested in this legislative period and there are investments of more than 25.4 million Euros currently under way." Additionally, the Government will "soon launch works that represent an investment of more than 90 million Euros."
Ana Cunha pointed out, as example, the reprofiling of Pier -10 and upgrading of the embankment surface of Ponta Delgada Port, including the integrated networks, the construction of a ramp for ro-ro and ferry vessels, the complementary works to improve the sheltering conditions of Pipas Port and the second phase of the redevelopment works Horta Commercial Port.
"The Government is also planning investments in port equipment for all islands, which is expected to reach 10 million Euros. It will include the acquisition of a new 3.4 million-Euro port crane to be installed at Praia da Vitória Port," stressed the Regional Secretary.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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