British airline easyJet has said that it will open a new base in Faro in Portugal's popular Algarve region, which has been hammered by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
EasyJet's executive director in Portugal, Joao Lopes, told reporters that the airline will allocate three aircraft to Faro next year, making it the company's third base in the southern European nation. It already has bases in Lisbon and Porto.
EasyJet hopes to operate 17 international routes to and from Faro between March and October of 2021.
Lopes said easyJet wants to "be able to react as soon as the recovery starts...and reinforce tourism in Algarve", which is a region that is well known among British tourists for its beaches and golf courses.
Last year, Portugal received approximately two million UK residents, with 64% of them going to the Algarve. So far in 2020, only approximately 100,000 Britons have arrived in the region.
Lopes said that the new base in Faro will create approximately 100 local jobs.
"We want to avoid 2021 being a year of losses, as 2020 was, and it may be the first year of recovery," Lopes said.
An Important Investment
Portugal's economy minister, Pedro Siza Vieira, said that easyJet's investment in Faro is important, especially "at a time air transport is going through the greatest crisis in history".