The chairman of the board of ANA – Portugal’s airports manager – has said that Portugal will probably not have a new airport before 2035/2040 and called for a quick political solution.
At the World Tourism Day conference on Monday, organised by the Portuguese Confederation of Tourism, held in Coimbra, José Luís Arnaut spoke of a “schizophrenic” situation in which there is a concessionaire that wants to invest and there are “a number of external contingencies and context constraints” that do not allow us to move forward.
“The only solution that has an environmental impact declaration is Montijo. We don’t know about Alcochete. Therefore, the political power and the parties must agree and give us the possibility and allow us to build,” he stressed.
The president of ANA points out that if the agreement signed with the government in 2019, which provided for the construction of the new airport in Montijo, had been fulfilled, in 2024 the country would have “a new airport infrastructure”.
“TAP and Portugal need a new airport,” argued José Luís Arnaut, pointing out that 95% of tourists arrive in Portugal by plane and without a new infrastructure “tourism will not grow”.
With the new airport, he added, Lisbon could receive 10 million more passengers per year, “which are lost, which is an immeasurable economic value”.
Stressing that there are no “perfect solutions”, the head of ANA is calling for a solution for a facility that “is necessary and becoming urgent”.
About the current passenger movement, the president of ANA advanced that in the months of July and August the Portuguese airports were at 66% of the traffic recorded in 2019.
Madeira and the Azores are cases of “fantastic recovery”, with 95% and 87%, respectively, “almost at the level of 2019”, and Porto is already at 65%.
“Lisbon is recovering well, with 54%, and Faro, with the limitation of the English, still has some difficulty, but we want to grow more and there is capacity to grow more. If tourists do not come to Lisbon they will go elsewhere”, defended José Luís Arnaut.