UPDATE: Prime Minister Antonio Costa has asked for the Minister of Infrastructure to quit and has revoked his dispatch surrounding the new airport plans.
The Portuguese government has decided that the Alcochete airport will be operational in 2035, replacing the Humberto Delgado airport in Lisbon. However, by 2026, a complimentary runway will be operational in Montijo to aid in the transition, reports Publico.
The Ministry of Infrastructure has decided to spot the Strategic Environmental Evaluation (AAE) that was in the hands of the Institute of Mobility and Transports (IMT) and will progress with a solution involving Montijo and Alcochete.
The government will start the construction in Montijo in a year so that by 2026 planes can land in a complementary infrastructure to the Lisbon airport. The plan is to build an airport in Alcochete long-term and to close the Lisbon airport.
For all this to happen, a proposal of the law will be present in parliament to change the legislation that allows municipalities to block new airports in their locations. In the previous legislature, the government would need the support of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), but now it holds a majority Socialist government.
The Ministry of Infrastructure led by Pedro Nuno Santos has said, “Although the Covid-19 pandemic negatively impacted air traffic, international provisions point to a fast increase to pre-pandemic levels. It is predicted that long-term air traffic in the region of Lisbon could double within two decades, causing unsustainable pressure on the current infrastructure”.
The Ministry goes on to argue that the new airport solution is a “political priority of the utmost importance” as the Lisbon airport cannot sustain the air traffic increase over the next few years.
Surrounding the possibility of growing the existent Lisbon airport, the Ministry of Infrastructure argues that there are no conditions to do so. However, constructions will occur at Lisbon airport that has the “sole purpose of bettering the operationality of the infrastructure:”.
However, the government has said that the Montijo project could face issues. There is a big risk that the environmental permits will not be granted for two runways in Montijo.