Another step has been taken towards a new airport for Lisbon, with a preferred location emerging from a new technical report.
The new analysis of the pros and cons of various proposed sites for the infrastructure project comes from the Independent Technical Commission (CTI). It names Campo de Tiro de Alcochete, one of the most expensive options, as the best overall location.
The options up for discussion included single site and dual-hub solutions, and all were weighed up against criteria ranging from location, to cost, to development timeframe, to public connectivity.
The most expensive
The two priciest options, says the CTI, are Alcochete and Vendas Novas. “Alcochete”, as the candidate is being dubbed (though it does not sit in the municipality of Alcochete but rather in Samora Correia, in Benavente) is on the eastern side of the Tagus River.
Vendas Novas is further east still, in the Evora district. They both could cost close to 10 billion euros, estimates the CTI (9.9 and 9.7 billion euros respectively), with Alcochete topping the price list. So why has the most expensive come out top overall?
Alcochete comes out of the comparison exercise top overall thanks to its rating on a number of factors other than cost. As a dual-hub with Lisbon, Alcochete comes second in the race to get an operational runway (seven years). As a single hub, Alcochete comes first, with a timeframe of eight years – sharing that number one spot with Santarém.
Santarém however is restricted by the military areas that lies to its west. “On the west side, there is a large block, Monte Real, where NATO military exercises are held,” explained Professor Rosário Macário, a CTI member, presenting the Commission’s findings. “The approach and take-off areas will enter the Monte Real block zone. It is not viable from a safety point of view, it is a big risk to have planes in the airspace at completely different speeds.”
Another plus for Alocochete is that it “is public land”, the CTI notes, and therefore “does not require expropriations”. The Alcochete option also hit the number one spot for the points it scored on human health and environmental viability factors, as well as connectivity.
But not everyone agrees. Portugal’s main air authority, ANA, has long argued in favour of Montijo. As a dual-hub with Lisbon, it comes in cheapest in CTI’s ranking, at 3.8 billion euros, and could be one of the fastest to see a new runway completed (six years). However CTI points out that any capacity added would be short term, with Montijo saturated by 2038.
30 working days of public consultation will now follow.