The planned construction of a second airport in Lisbon, Portugal, has been blocked by Portugal’s aviation regulator ANAC following environmental concerns from local councils.
The new airport, which would support their current Portela airport, had been planned for the last five decades and was set to be built in 2022 by French construction group Vinci, which owns ANA, the Lisbon airport operator. It had said in 2019 it would invest 1.15 billion euro in the expansion of Lisbon’s main airport and the construction of the new one. The new airport was to be located on the military base of Montijo, which already has an air base, on the southern bank of the Tagus river.
However, Portugal’s aviation regulator ANAC announced on Tuesday that it had rejected the request for prior appraisal of the feasibility of the airport’s construction, stating the project did not have the necessary support of local councils. A statement on ANAC’s website read “It was concluded that ANAC was obliged to reject the request outright”, citing a law which states all municipalities must be in favour of the project. This was not the case as two were against it, one didn’t give an opinion, and two were in favour.
“It was concluded that ANAC was obliged to reject the request outright”ANAC, Portugal’s aviation regulator
ANAC added that among the reasons for voting against the plan were environmental concerns. A 2019 environmental study highlighted the new airport as a threat to wildlife, as the Tagus estuary is a nature reserve for various birds.
Following the decision, the government has decided to launch a “strategic environmental assessment procedure” to compare the project with other options, said the Ministry of Infrastructure in a statement.
The project will be re-evaluated, and the government said it would propose a review of the law in question. The other options being considered include making Montijo airport the main infrastructure whilst keeping the current airport in a complementary role, or the construction of a new single airport in Alcochete, another municipality located south of the capital.
ANA stated it still believed the new airport in Montijo was the best option to “respond to the country’s interests”. “This is another stage in the process of expanding Lisbon airport capacity, which will continue and is fundamental for the economic development and recovery of the tourism sector”, it added.