New Lisbon airport vital now
Lisbon’s mayor Carlos Moedas has called upon the government to move now with the construction of a new international airport for the city.
In 2019 the existing Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport near Portela had already reached overcapacity in what had been one of Portugal’s busiest years in tourism numbers with 24.6 million (10.5 million for Lisbon alone) and 31 million passengers flying in and out of Lisbon, and a total of 60 million passengers flying in and out of all the country’s airports. A sobering thought when in 1970 passenger numbers in Lisbon didn’t even make 3 million!
Now Carlos Moedas is saying it is imperative to build the new airport to cope with the expected influx of tourists now the Covid-19 pandemic is less serious, regardless of which site would be chosen.
“We need an airport now. Whether it is in one location or another is a technical question, but the airport has to move ahead for the good off all concerned”, he said.
Carlos Moedas made his opinions felt at a lunch promoted by the Hotel Association of Portugal (AHP) in a speech that covered some of the challenges faced by the sector.
“Obviously, for many years we’ve had Portela +1 on the table, but for me the position is clear”, he said.
The statements from the Mayor of Lisbon were made after the President of the AHP, Bernardo Trindade warned that hotels could lose clients over the delays in building the new airport at a time when a competitive tender was launched for a strategic environment impact study on the future airport which was launched by the government in October 2021 after several town councils rejected the Montijo site on the South side of the River Tagus.
At the time, the then Adjunct Secretary of State for Communications, Hugo Santos Mendes said that a strategic environmental evaluation for three possible locations should be delivered in 2023.
There are currently three possibilities on the table: Humberto Delgado (main) with Montijo Airport (secondary), Montijo (Main) with Humberto Delgado (secondary), and an airport located at a former armed forces shooting range at Alcochete.
“You may have the best hotels, the best companies in the world, but if people have to wait three or four hours to go through Lisbon airport, people won’t want to return”, warned the mayor.