Santarém has been put forward as a candidate city to relieve the capacity problems at Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado airport. Named after Fernão de Magalhães, Portuguese navigator and explorer, Magellan500 was developed by a consortium of private Portuguese business interests in collaboration with local bodies. Within approximately 15 years, Magellan500 forecasts 50 million passengers, and 100 million within the next 40 years.
An alternative to Lisbon airport has been talked about since 1969. In 2019, the year before the pandemic, 31.1 million passengers passed through Humberto Delgado airport, 7.4% more than the previous year, according to data from Vinci, owner of ANA Airports.
Magellan500 was presented in late November of 2022, and it includes investments in production, storage and transport centers for hydrogen for aviation and renewable energy production parks, among others, with the promoters stressing that it is essential to use sustainable fuels to reduce the project’s environmental impacts.
It’s a strategic project that will become an asset to Santarém, the Lisbon Metropolitan Area and to the entire Center region.Ricardo Gonçalves, Mayor of Santarém
The last phase of the Porto-Lisbon high speed line depends on the location of the future airport in the capital, however the current plan does not include Santarém, since the last phase only leaves open the construction of the new line through Montijo or Alcochete.
Portugal’s Government has not revealed any preference for the moment about any of the alternatives.
There is a solution in which Humberto Delgado Airport remains as the main airport and Montijo as complementary; a second in which Montijo progressively acquires the status of main and Humberto Delgado as complementary; a third in which Alcochete fully replaces Humberto Delgado Airport; a fourth in which Alcochete will be the main airport and Santarém the complementary one, and a fifth in which Santarém fully replaces Humberto Delgado.
There’s been some dissent regarding the potential new location of the airport. The mayors of Porto and Lison do not see with favorable the solution of having the airport in Santarém, the main reason being the distance. Santarém is 80km away from the capital. “There is no European city with a main airport 85 kilometers away,” said Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon. “To have a reliable connection at such a distance is a big challenge.”