Government: no point to new airport without TAP
Portugal’s minister for the Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, said this week that although it was undeniable that Lisbon needs a new international airport to increase airport capacity, there was no point to one without TAP.
Speaking today (Friday) at the 46th congress of the Portuguese Association of Tourism and Travel Agents (APAV), which ended in Aveiro today, Pedro Siza Vieira said that the building of a new airport simply didn’t make sense without the national carrier TAP.
The minister of State, the Economy and Digital Transition opined that “TAP is probably one of the most critical companies for our (economic and commercial) development” and “there’s no point having a new airport if we don’t have TAP”, stressing that 96% of those passengers arriving in Portugal come via air, and that if Lisbon turns into a secondary airport it would “put Portugal at a strategic disadvantage”.
The Minister for the Economy said that “one of the advantages of these elections (which will take place on the 30 January, 2022) is that “we can respond to a call from the President of the Republic” who on Wednesday, at the same congress, called for a decision to be taken on the airport, and that it should be taken in 2022″. On the occasion, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa recalled that “dreaming of having a strong hub in Portugal implied investing in TAP”.
“It is very important that the parties standing in the elections make clear what they want to do with TAP, “so that there is no national anguish throughout the next term of government”, he said.
Siza Vieira believes it is necessary to have political consensus to change the legislation to avoid a stalemate in decision-making, adding that there was always a municipal council (on the south bank of the river Tagus) who could block the new airport.
The minister said that “airport movements had grown in Lisbon because TAP had grown and this provided an impulse for other carriers to visit Portugal”.
Siza Vieira remembered that in 2019 TAP had enjoyed a positive net contribution of 2% of GDP and that if the national carrier were to vanish, it would have an immediate negative balance on commercial trade.
Responding to criticisms about State help given to TAP, the minister said that “all states in the world made big investments in their national carriers” and that Portugal needed to “preserve its installed capacity in order for there to be recovery”.
“If we let TAP fall, it would be a huge loss for our country, one which we would all regret,” he said.