Prime Minister intervenes with mayors over new airport

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Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa has appealed for “Common Sense” in the run up to a meeting with a group of mayors who currently have reservations about the site for Lisbon’s secondary international airport at Montijo on the south bank of the Tagus river.

“I above all believe that common sense will prevail” he said to the press when quizzed if he still believed that the new airport would go ahead on the site.
The Prime Minister said that: “throughout the years” the Government had “been in constant contact with all the municipal leaders in the Lisbon region” and it was within this scope that he would hold “another round of meetings with the six mayors of the municipal councils which had given their opinions on the matter”.
“The idea is to hear out the opinion from the councils to see how it might be possible to respond to their legitimate concerns to resolve a matter that is not just a mere priority for the Government, but is now one of national urgency, i.e., solving the lack of airport capacity in the Lisbon region.”
The meeting will be held today and will be attended by the Mayors of Alcochete, Barreiro, Lisbon, Moita, Montijo and Seixal with António Costa and transport minister Pedro Nuno Santos.
The construction of the Montijo airport can only go ahead with a favourable report from the municipal councils affected by the project according to current law.
The Mayor of Moita, Rui Garcia is against the new airport site which could affect the construction of road and rail links and the law states that the project may only advance with the agreement of all the local councils affected.
Because of this, the Minister of Infrastructure, Pedro Nuno Santos has admitted to reviewing the law so that the local councils can’t block the building of Lisbon’s second airport, but the centre-right PSD party and parties on the left are against a law change.
On 8 January 2019 the airports management company ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal and the State signed an agreement to expand the Lisbon region airport capacity with an investment of €1.5Bn to 2028 by turning the airforce base at Montijo on Lisbon’s south bank into a new secondary airport.
At the end of January this year the Portuguese Environmental Authority announced that the new Montijo airport had been approved from their end providing that it obeyed a number of stipulations (160 measures) laid out in an Environmental Impact Statement that ANA would have to meet and would add an extra €48 million to the final bill.