Edition 1509
12 January 2019
Edition: 1509

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Financing agreement for new Montijo airport signed this week

in Regional · 10-01-2019 11:05:00 · 0 Comments

The financing agreement for the new Montijo airport on Lisbon’s south bank as well as a series of alterations to Lisbon’s main Humberto Delgado airport was signed on Tuesday afternoon between national airport manager ANA, which belongs to the French Vinci group, and the government. Overall investment will exceed €1.7 billion.

Financing agreement for new Montijo airport signed this week

The ceremony took place at the Montijo air base, also known as Air Base No.6, which is to be converted into an international civilian airport to relieve the overstretched main Lisbon airport and should be ready for use in 2022. According to the newly-signed agreement, airport taxes at Montijo will be between 15 and 20 percent cheaper than at Humberto Delgado to attract airlines.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister António Costa, Minister of Planning and Infrastructures Pedro Marques, the head of Vinci, Xavier Huillard, and the president of Vinci Airports, Nicolas Notebaert.
The signing took place despite the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) not yet having been delivered by ANA.
Last week, Pedro Marques assured that any mitigation measures that may be defined will be fully complied with, and that the document must be delivered during the first quarter of this year.
The binding agreement between ANA and the state was scheduled for last October, according to the memorandum of understanding, which also pointed towards the end of 2018 for the airport manager to deliver the additional elements that the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA) requested for the EIA.
In the partisan debate on the expansion of Lisbon’s airport capacity, the PSD social democrats have already announced that they will call the Defence Minister and the Chief of Staff of the Portuguese Air Force (FAP) to parliament to provide clarification.
Located at Air Base No.6 are a fleet of C130 Hercules transport planes, a fleet of C295 M used for mission transportation and marine surveillance in searches and rescues, a Falcon 50, and Merlin EH 101 helicopters, used in search and rescue and as back-up to Navy Lynx helicopters.
According to an estimate by National Defence Minister João Gomes Cravinho, on 30 November, relocating the Air Force aircraft based at Montijo will cost close to €200 million and will take at least two to three years.
The Minister said military and civilian operations at the air base are compatible, noting that the FAP’s future KC-390 aircraft will operate from Montijo.
Part of the AT1 military airfield contingent in Figo Maduro, Portela, will also be transferred to Montijo, according to the Government’s plan.
The C-295 and C-130 planes will be relocated to other bases in Sintra and Beja.
Last week, Left Bloc chairman Catarina Martins expressed “enormous perplexity” at the fact that the agreement for the new Montijo airport was due to be signed without an environmental impact study being known.
The Secretary General of the communist PCP party, Jerónimo de Sousa, accused the Government of intending to “a station” and a “little airport” in Montijo to “benefit a large economic group”, considering that “in such haste” environmental issues go out the window.
Often referred to as Lisbon Airport’s +1, Montijo will be used to absorb overflow traffic
from Lisbon.
This combination will reportedly allow Lisbon’s main airport capacity to increase to 50 million passengers per year and 72 aircraft movements per hour. Expansion work on Lisbon airport is due to start at the end of this year.
Environmentalists are concerned Montijo’s new airport will change the normal operation of the area, but the government has guaranteed that it will endeavour to minimise its impact.
A few hours before the agreement was signed, environmentalist association Zero announced that it will be filing a lawsuit in court. The issue that most concerns the association is noise – reportedly, the decibels generated by Montijo would be above that recommended by the World Health Organisation and will affect more than 200 thousand people in the areas of Baixa da Banheira and Moita.

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Edition 1509
12 January 2019
Edition: 1509

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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