Speaking to the Lusa news agency on the sidelines of the Portugal Air Summit (PAS) taking place at the Ponte de Sor Municipal Aerodrome until Sunday, the mayor, Hugo Hilário, explained that "the first prototype of the aircraft is expected to be launched in the first half of 2026 and the second prototype in the second half of 2026".

"And we hope that by the year [2024], at the time of the PAS, around October, November, we'll have already started building the factory," he said.

The municipality of Ponte de Sor is involved in three mobilising agendas of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), worth more than 200 million euros, with the expectation that around 500 direct jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs will be created.

The first mobilising agenda is "Aero.next Portugal" (a consortium), which will be responsible for producing Portugal's first aircraft, the LUS 222.

This agenda includes around "140 million euros" of investment, "61 percent" of which for the Alentejo (75 million euros), and also includes the production of an unmanned aircraft with "distinct" capabilities from those that exist for maritime surveillance and a third component related to advanced air mobility.

The second mobilising agenda, "Neuraspace", aims to "help solving" the problems related to space waste. A radar will be created in Ponte de Sor to meet this need.

This project involves "around 20 million euros" and will create around 20 to 30 direct jobs.

The third mobilising agenda under the PRR, "Newspace", is in turn related to the production of microsatellites and involves "around 60 million euros" of investment, creating more than a hundred jobs.

"The other agendas, one of the satellites is a little further along, it has to be carried out, as we know, even by the end of 2026 due to the PRR, and it is hoped that by the end of 2024/2025 there will already be effective verification of the realisation of this agenda on the ground," he said.