Montijo Airport: “We are ready to put the ‘diggers’ to work”

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 19-12-2020 20:00:00 · 1 Comments

José Luís Arnaut, chairman of the board of directors of ANA Aeroportos, said that the company is prepared "to put the 'diggers' to work" at the new Montijo airport "as early as April.

"We are prepared to put the 'diggers' to work already in the month of April," said Ana's 'chairman', who participated in the 'webinar' "Will there be a recovery without air transport?", promoted by the newspaper Jornal Económico and the consultancy BDC.

The head of the airport manager underlined ANA's full readiness to start work on Montijo's airport infrastructure, which he considered important to avoid the constraints felt in 2019, with the increase in passenger flow at national airports and the inability of airport infrastructure to meet needs.

"We know that there are obstacles placed by some municipalities for political reasons," said José Luís Arnaut, stressing the need to review the law that allows a single municipality to question works "of national interest.

"We will only get economic recovery first, if we have tourism recovery and, to have tourism recovery, there must be air transport and, to have air transport, there must be airport infrastructures", he stressed.

He also criticised the application of a carbon tax "which implies a 20 percent increase [in the price of the air ticket] for each passenger".

The infrastructure minister said this week that the government was considering how to respond to the strategic environmental assessment of the new Montijo airport, approved by parliament, and hoped to have news "in the near future".

"There is work we are doing here to consider how we will respond to what the parliament approved [strategic environmental assessment of Montijo airport]," said Pedro Nuno Santos, who was speaking at a regimental hearing of the Commission for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Public Works and Housing, in Parliament.

The government will have to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment for the new Lisbon airport next year, according to two proposed amendments to the 2021 State Budget (OE2021) approved on 24 November through 'negative coalitions'.

This is a proposal of the PAN and another of the PEV approved in the Committee on Budget and Finance, with the favourable votes of all parties except the PS, which voted against.

Several environmental associations were in favour of carrying out that type of assessment of the new Montijo airport project, but the government wanted to go ahead with its implementation, and even the prime minister, António Costa, said that there was no "plan B" for Montijo.

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This project involves placing an international airport next to one of the largest migratory bird reserves in Europe. Not safe for the birds and not safe for the planes. Lisbon South Shore is a future goldmine of development for the city, but will be blighted permanently by this airport. The scheme also includes a substantial expansion of operations at Humberto Delgado Airport. This means yet more noisy and polluting overflights for the citizens of Lisbon. The project is a sticking plaster over a wound which should have been seen to years ago. The solution is a new airport to the north between Lisbon and Coimbra and fast rail links between Porto, Coimbra, the new airport, Beja Airport and the Algarve.

By Dirk Scott from Lisbon on 22-12-2020 11:23
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