“The air link is important, but it will cease to be necessary the day we have a train completing the Lisbon-Porto journey in one hour and 15 minutes. I think that this is another gain for the country,” said the minister, who was speaking to journalists during a visit to the construction work of the link between the Formariz business park, in that municipality in Viana do Castelo district, and the motorway (A3).
Asked if TAP is forgetting the north if the Lisbon-Porto air link ends, the minister said that “one thing has nothing to do with the other and Porto is not only connected to Lisbon by plane, but is connected to the world.
“If we have a fast connection by train between Lisbon and Porto we won’t need the air connections and that is good. It is only bad for TAP, which is something that saddens me because obviously we are doing a great job in recovering the airline,” Pedro Nuno Santos stressed.
The Minister of Infrastructure said that the country has to “prepare for a new world and that short plane connections, a means of transport that contributes most to greenhouse gas emissions, have to decrease”.
“It’s not just in Portugal. Just yesterday [19 April] Germany announced that it wanted to make a major investment in the railways to replace some air links. We want to make the investment in the railway not thinking about the air bridge, but it is obviously able to bring the two major urban centres of the country closer, to change the way the north and the south relate, the way we work and this will have as a consequence, in my positive opinion, the effect of eliminating the need for an air bridge between Lisbon and Porto.”
The Minister of Infrastructure said he hoped, as a “supporter of the railway”, that air travel of less than 600 kilometres would disappear from Europe, stressing that, despite TAP’s situation, a possible end to the Lisbon-Porto link is a consequence of development.
“I, who am a great supporter of the railway and want it to expand, also want air travel of less than 600 kilometres to disappear from Europe,” said Pedro Nuno Santos, at the session to launch the National Rail Plan (PFN), in Lisbon.
In this regard, the minister regretted that planes will “stop making” the Lisbon-Porto connection, but classified this possibility as “a sign of development”.