“The prime minister ordered the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing to revoke the order published yesterday [Wednesday] on the new airport in the Lisbon region”, reads a statement released today by António Costa's office.
In the communiqué, the Prime Minister “reaffirms that the solution must be negotiated and agreed with the opposition, in particular with the main opposition party and, under no circumstances, without due information to the President of the Republic”.
“It is the prime minister's responsibility to guarantee the unity, credibility and collegiality of government action. The Prime Minister will proceed, as soon as possible, with the hearing of the PSD leader who will start functions this weekend to define the appropriate procedure for a national, political, technical, environmental and economically sustained decision ”, adds the statement.
On Wednesday, an order signed by the Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Hugo Santos Mendes, was published in the Diário da República on the "definition of procedures related to the development of the strategic environmental assessment of the Airport Capacity Expansion Plan for the Lisbon Region".
Among other measures, the order determines the "study of the solution aimed at building the Montijo airport, as a transition infrastructure, and the new 'stand alone' airport at Campo de Tiro de Alcochete, in its various technical areas."
"The risks of an airport infrastructure with two long runways on the Montijo peninsula not obtaining environmental authorization to move forward are today assessed as very high. For this reason, the Government has therefore stopped considering the 'stand alone' Montijo option as viable and, in this sense, worthy of in-depth study", reads the explanatory memorandum.
The Secretary of State for Infrastructure considers that, "excluding this last option, the only airport solution that responds to the need to provide the country and the Lisbon region with a modern airport infrastructure capable of long-term growth is the construction of an airport at the Alcochete Shooting Range".
The Ministry of Infrastructure announced that the new airport solution for Lisbon involved the construction of a new airport in Montijo by 2026 and closing the Humberto Delgado airport, when the one in Alcochete was completed, in 2035.
According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, the intention is to speed up the construction of Montijo airport - a solution to respond to the increase in demand in Lisbon, which will be complementary to the Humberto Delgado airport.
On Wednesday night, the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, took up this solution in interviews with RTP and SIC Notícias.
PSD president-elect Luís Montenegro “was not informed of anything” about the government's plans for the new airport, he told the source close to the former parliamentary leader, in response to the Lusa agency.
The Prime Minister, António Costa, had stated in parliament last week that he was waiting for the decision of the elected president of the PSD, Luís Montenegro, on the location of the new Lisbon airport so that there would be “sufficient national consensus” with a view to a “final and irreversible” decision on this matter.
Questioned by journalists on this matter, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said he was unaware of the "concrete contours" of the Government's new airport solution for the Lisbon region, noting that "it has now been adjusted", and refused to comment on it without having more information.