Apetite for Montijo air base for second airport falls

 In Infrastructure

The CEO of Portugal’s national airline TAP says that Montijo, a site on the South side of Lisbon’s River Tagus earmarked for a second airport, is too small for the national carrier.

Antonoaldo Neves said on Tuesday that: “Montijo is too small to act as a base for TAP Portugal” whose co-owner, David Neeleman, has repeatedly called for a new fit-for-purpose international airport for Lisbon since the current facility at Portela has already reached capacity.

“We have to resolve the problem of Portela (Humberto Delgado International airport) which will have to continue to be Lisbon’ hub in the coming decade”.

Passenger numbers for TAP have steadily risen since 2010 from 9.1 million that year to a record 14.2 million last year.

Antonoaldo Neves was addressing the conference “Success Made in Portugal” organised by the online business title Dinheiro Vivo which celebrated its 7th anniversary in Lisbon this week.

Neves said the that: “the country had to make a choice: either become a global hub or a secondary global hub.”

“We’re really behind” is the key question and not whether the choice is for a new airport of Montijo,” he said.

“We’re lagging in everything: air traffic control investment, legislative investment and in infrastructure.”

Antonoaldo Neves said the Lisbon airport issue was not like a marriage that didn’t work out so one of the parties chooses a new partner.

“The question is not ‘dating Montijo’ but rather the ‘marriage’ with Portela and the current Humberto Delgado airport,” he said.

“I need to solve my problem with Portela as Montijo is too small for TAP. Montijo can only be a temporary stopgap solution” the airline executive added.

Last month the Chairman of TAP, Miguel Frasquilho told the Essentia conference on tourism, brands and real estate held in Lisbon that within two to three years Portela would be full to capacity and was already congested.