The Minister of Planning and Infrastructures today renewed in Madrid the intention of Montijo airport to start operating in 2022, to solve the problems of growth of 80% in traffic in Lisbon in the last five years.
Our view is that “the solution” for increasing traffic “will begin to be implemented next year, […] be completed by the year 2021 so that it can be available in 2022,” said Pedro Marques at the conference of the Association International Air Transport (IATA) in the Spanish capital.
The government official revealed that traffic at Humberto Delgado airport in Lisbon has grown by 80% over the past five years, with “big demand for slots” (right to land or take off at congested airports) for the next few summers”.
In a debate in which he participated in the IATA congress, Pedo Marques stated that the situation at Lisbon airport “did not improve after the privatization” of ANA, suggesting that it was the traffic growth that led to problems in the Portuguese capital.
“I regretted the fact that at the time of ANA’s privatization [in 2012] it was not immediately decided to move forward with solutions, as well as the financial and environmental conditions of that solution,” told the minister responsible for infrastructure.
Pedro Marques also lamented that the country debated during “decades” about the airport problems of the Lisbon region without advancing towards a concrete solution.
“This is not how we should probably decide, but it was the conditions that left us,” said the minister in an allusion to the previous government led by Pedro Passos Coelho that privatized ANA without having made a decision on the new airport.
Without naming the political decision-makers, Pedro Marques recalled that “the solution came to be decided [José Socrates Government] and was then abandoned [Passos Coelho’s executive] so that nothing could be decided instead. Government”.
The airport complementary to that of Lisbon will be in Montijo with the transformation of what is currently a military base in a civil airport and in order to increase the capacity of this infrastructure.
The start of the works in 2019 in Montijo depends on the negotiations of an ongoing financial solution with ANA and the delivery of an environmental impact study by the APA (Portuguese Environment Agency).
On the sidelines of the IATA congress on the situation of European airports, Pedro Marques met with his Spanish counterpart, Jose Luis Ábalos, with whom he prepared, among other things, the bilateral summit between the two countries that will take place in Valladolid on November 21 next.
The two governments intend to “develop coordinated rail links between the two countries, and discussed the” enhanced coordination “between the CP – Comboios de Portugal and the homologous Renfe, within the framework of the European liberalization of rail transport starting from January 1st.
“Our approach, within European rules, is to foster coordination and not the unbridled competition between the CP and Renfe,” concluded Pedro Marques.