Montijo airport project put on ice for 2020

 In Aviation, Infrastructure, News

The Portuguese Government has decided to temporarily shelve a project for Lisbon’s second international airport at Montijo on the South bank of the River Tagus.

The minister of Infrastructure and Housing says it is “too difficult” to begin works on Montijo airport this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but stresses that the Government will make the investment to satisfy the growing passenger capacity at Lisbon’s existing airport which until the pandemic was stretched beyond capacity.
“I think it’s difficult now, especially given that Portugal cannot avoid increasing its airport capacity in the Lisbon region, and this is obvious,” he said adding that “we’re going through a really unusual situation (the pandemic) but that won’t last for ever, and the day that we get back to high demand we have to have the capacity to meet it,” said minister Pedro Santos Nunes in an interview with TSF radio last week.
The minister said that were it not for the pandemic, Portugal would now be turning away thousands of flights to Lisbon because of a lack of capacity to meet demand and, as a consequence would be losing lots of money.
Santos Nunes said that the country couldn’t afford the luxury of not pressing ahead and that the project should restart “as soon as possible”.
On Thursday, the President of the Executive Commission of ANA (Aeroportos de Portugal) Thierry Ligonniére, told parliament that the crisis provoked by the pandemic and which had paralysed the airline industry, did “not mean the Montijo airport project had lost any of its relevance.”
“The project is now in the execution phase. The world crisis does not reduce the relevance of Montijo airport” he said during a hearing of the Environment, Energy and Territorial Planning Commission.
He told the commission that by the start of 2019, Lisbon’s existing Humberto Delgado airport could no longer generate positive results for the national economy and create employment as a result.
Which is why, in the current context, “The project is even more important to offset the economic effects of a crisis hitting the national economy which looks set to be very serious,” he said.
On 8 January, 2019, ANA and the Portuguese State signed an agreement to expand Lisbon’s airport capacity with an investment of €1.15Bn over eight years to turn a former airforce base into a secondary Lisbon airport.