THREE of the big four operators are set to add extra
capacity to Portugal next summer for the 2004 European Football Championships.

First Choice, MyTravel and Thomas Cook are all looking
to cash in on the extra demand from tens of thousands of England fans expected
to fly out to Portugal to support their team.

First Choice is adding four flights a week to Portugal
for the four weeks of the tournament which begins on June 12.

Flights lead in at £257 return and will depart on
Saturdays from Gatwick and Manchester to Lisbon and Oporto.

MyTravelLite is currently in negotiations with Faro
Airport to extend its opening hours so the no-frills carrier’s service from
Birmingham can capitalise on any night flying capacity available.

It also plans to increase frequencies by adding
flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to the programme during the tournament.

Thomas Cook said it had no concrete plans but head of
trade relations Ian Derbyshire said it would add flights where it could get
beds. “We expect there to be strong demand from people wanting to go on holiday
and take in the football at the same time, and those that will just fly over
for the games.”

TUI has ruled out putting on any extra flights for the
football tournament.

A spokeswoman said the company believes its current
2004 summer timetable, which includes more than 20 flights a week from 14 UK
airports to Faro, is enough to cope with demand.