New Lisbon airport plan blocked – for now

By Daisy Sampson, in News, Health & Environment · 05-03-2021 01:00:00 · 5 Comments

A negative decision for the National Civil Aviation Authority, rejection from local councils and protests from environmental groups may still not be enough to stop the opening of the new airport in Montijo as the government looks to change the law in its favour.

On 2 March, the aviation regulator refused to evaluate a plan to build a controversial new airport planned for Montijo on the southern bank of the Tagus River, essentially leaving the project dead in the water however, the government is not leaving it there.

The National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) said it had rejected the evaluation request submitted by airport authority ANA as not all municipalities in and around the new airport were happy with the plans, with some citing environmental concerns.

Reacting to the decision, the government said it would propose different solutions for the impasse, including building the airport elsewhere and also re-evaluating the laws allowing municipalities to veto plans of “national importance”.
In a statement regarding the decision, ANAC states that, "the Decree-Law determines that it constitutes a basis for preliminary rejection in the absence of a favourable opinion from all municipal councils in the potentially affected municipalities [… ] ".

This judgement has obliged ANAC “to reject the request outright, in compliance with the principle of legality (…) with no technical assessment of the merit of the project".

Law revision
Following the ruling from ANAC, the Government has stated that legislation will now be revised to eliminate what it considers to be the veto allowed to municipalities in the development of infrastructures of national and strategic interest, such as the location of the new airport.

"In this sense, and taking into account the current legal framework in force, to ensure that it has conditions to be implemented, the Government will, from now on, promote the revision of Decree-Law no. 186/2007, of 10 May, as amended by Decree-Law No. 55/2010, of 31 May, in the sense of eliminating what constitutes, in practice, a veto of power of local authorities in the development of these infrastructures of national and strategic interest ”, adds the statement.

Three options remain
Meanwhile, the government is continuing to forge ahead with plans to expand the Lisbon airport offering three possible solutions in discussion.

The Ministry of Infrastructure explains that the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) will “promote an assessment that compares” three solutions: the current dual solution, in which Humberto Delgado Airport will have the status of main airport and Montijo Airport as the complementary airport, the second would see Montijo Airport progressively acquire the status of the main airport and Humberto Delgado Airport as complementary airport and finally, the construction of a new international airport in Lisbon at Campo de Tiro de Alcochete is the third option.

ANA has stated in reaction to the ruling that the company will analyse the legal terms of the ANAC decision.

"ANA will analyse the legal terms presented by ANAC [National Civil Aviation Authority], which do not coincide with the legal opinions of Professor Doutor Vital Moreira and Professor Doutor Paulo Otero, attached to the application delivered [to the regulator]", a source from ANA told Lusa news agency.

The company told Lusa, that they continue to believe that the “Montijo solution will be the one that will best respond to the country's interests”.



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Comments:

Fantasy airports. Both Montijo and Campo de Tito de Alcochete are effectively in a bird reserve. Pilots have already objected and big Europe-wide environmental organisations are ready to take the Portuguese government to court. Portuguese politicians need to wake up to their obligations to EU membership and find a different solution.

By Dirk Scott from Lisbon on 06-03-2021 10:29

Why in hell's name do we need another airport now. No one in their right mind will come here now. Nothing open and not likely to be in the foreseeable future.

By Martin from Lisbon on 06-03-2021 09:15

Time to reconsider Alcochete, the ONLY right solution. Dual airports for a city the size of Lisbon come with large inefficiencies and only increases cost on airlines and hence on passengers. I regret that we're 50 years' into a discussion about the new Lisbon airport but that's largely due to successive governments being blind to the right arguments. OTA never was a good solution, it just took 30+ years for the authroities to wake up to that. In the same vein, Montijo's location is highly problematic close to urban and natural spaces. I rarely agree with the PCP on anything but here they're spot on: Alcochete please.

By ron franken from Lisbon on 05-03-2021 03:12

Forget the airport plan. It will be more important for the government to invest in new businesses, industry and technology to provide steady, year-round jobs. The country needs to get back on its feet after the brutal impact the pandemic had and continues to have on tourism and travel.

By Annie from Algarve on 05-03-2021 12:22

PORTUGAL MUST THINK TWICE BEFORE EMBARKING ON ANOTHER WASTEFUL GIGANTIC PROJECT LIKE VASCO DA GAMA BRIDGE. GIGANTIC PROJECTS ARE FOR ECONOMIC PURPOSES AND NOT FOR BEAUTY. I WAS THINKING OF HOW MANY COTTAGE INDUSTRIES THAT WOULD BUILD AND MILLIONS OF EMPLOYMENT THEREIN, THEREBY REDUCING OUR DEPENDENCY ON FRANCE AND SPAIN FOR FINISHED PRODUCTS.

By PRINCE AWODIKE from Lisbon on 05-03-2021 07:01
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