Lisbon may be forced to turn away flights

 In New Airport, News

Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado International Airport may have to turn away flights next year because there simply isn’t the capacity to take them.

This was the warning from Portugal’s Minister of Infrastructure and Housing who said that the situation would be untenable once tourism recovered in 2023 to 2019 levels – a record year.
Pedro Nuno Santos called for a broad political consensus on construction of the new airport which is slated to be built on the south bank of the River Tagus at Lisbon.
“We’re not going to be turning flights away this year, but next year we are expecting our best year ever in terms of tourist visitor numbers and this will again cause congestion problems, with the result of having to refuse flights”, said Pedro Nuno Santos on Tuesday.
The minister said he would “provide more information about the new airport in the coming days” and expected that delays and queues would likely get worse next year given that (the results of increased) “traffic, flow and waiting times” were being felt now”.
“We’ve got a structural problem, an airport that has reached overcapacity, and we need a solution”, he said at a foundation stone laying ceremony for a new housing project in Lisbon where he stood side-by-side with Lisbon Mayor Carlos Moedas who last month called for a “new Lisbon airport and now!”
The minister said he thought it vital that Portugal would be able to reach a broad consensus to build one so that the project wasn’t put on ice every time a government or minister changed.
“It’s important that we work towards this consensus to find a suitable solution”, he said.
On Monday Reuters reported “the long lines of passengers forced to wait hours at Lisbon” were “unlikely to ease up into high summer tourist season despite plans to almost double border control staff.”
On Sunday, passengers waited for more than three hours in arrivals at the capital’s airport, according to airport management company ANA, which in a statement blamed borders and immigration agency SEF for insufficient numbers of staff and border checkpoints.
SEF union chief Acacio Pereira told Reuters that Lisbon airport was “an old facility”, unable to handle the leap in passengers numbers after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
He told Reuters that the airport management company ANA had “poorly managing the distribution of Lisbon-bound flights, having channeled 60 through the airport on Sunday in a short period of time”.
Border staff checked more than 100,000 people at Portuguese airports on Saturday and Sunday, half of them in Lisbon, he said, adding that the SEF “has a duty to guarantee the country’s security”.