An alternative to Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado airport has been talked about since 1969, since the airport will soon not be able to sustain the increasing passenger traffic by itself. In 2019, the year before the pandemic, 31.1 million passengers passed through the airport, 7.4% more than the previous year, according to data from Vinci, owner of ANA Airports.
An Independent Technical Commission (CTI) is in charge of analysing the feasibility of several locations proposed for the expansion and announced on Thursday, 27 April, it shortlisted the 17 options to just 9. Five of these were proposed at the end of last year by the Council of Ministers: Humberto Delgado plus Santarém, Humberto Delgado plus Montijo, Montijo as the main airport and Humberto Delgado as a secondary, Santarém by itself and Campo de Tiro de Alcochete by itself.
The four additional options are: Humberto Delgado Airport plus Campo de Tiro de Alcochete, Humberto Delgado Airport plus Pegões, Pegões by itself and Rio Frio plus Poceirão.
Ten criteria were taken into consideration by the CTI when analysing the proposals, the most important being: the proximity to Lisbon’s city centre, considering the European average for distance between a city and a main airport is 22 km, the possibility of expanding over an area of at least 1,000 ha and having adequate road and rail infrastructure, or at least having existing plans for such a development.
Other points of concern were: the affected population, as well as affected natural areas and migratory corridors, the movement capacity per hour, eventual conflicts with military airspace and the possibility of resolving them, the strategic importance for Air Force, the risk of natural damage, from flooding or earthquakes, and the existence of an Environmental Impact Assessment as well as an Environmental Impact Statement.
Without indicating any preference over the proposed options, Lisbon Mayor Carlos Moedas pointed out that time frame should also be among the criteria. “I really liked the presentation. The criteria that are important to me are included, the only thing missing is speed. We have to resolve this situation with some speed. Because there are solutions that are there that take a long time. I’m not against solutions that take a long time, I just want to know what I do in between”, he told journalists after the presentation.
The results of the first shortlisting procedure were revealed during a presentation in Lisbon, with a second phase taking place until November, when the CTI has to announce if the final option will be one where two co-working airports are considered or if only one new hub will be established. After this, the project will move to a public discussion phase.