ANA - Aeroportos de Portugal says it already has a project to set up an airport in Montijo but if this option is rejected, it will have to start all over again.
Lisbon’s new airport continues to be a hot topic between the government and the sector’s players. When will it conclude and where will it be located are the two main questions on the table at the moment, in a process that has been dragging on for years. ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal continues to argue that installing a hub in Montijo is the best option and that it has everything ready to go ahead with this investment. But if this location is ruled out, the company says it will have to start all over again, as it has no plan B.
The government requested in March a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the new Lisbon airport, and three options are being studied: Portela as main airport and Montijo as complementary; Montijo as main airport and Portela as complementary; a new and single airport in Alcochete. And the Executive aims for 2023 for the delivery of this document, that is, before 2023 there will not be a new airport.
Montijo as a complementary airport is the hypothesis defended by the majority, including by the company itself. “It is the fastest and cheapest solution and the one with the least environmental impact,” said ANA CEO Thierry Ligonnière this Thursday during the 32nd Hospitality and Tourism Congress. “But what will be on the table will be what the government decides. We are a concessionaire and we don’t decide,” he added.
Thierry Ligonnière said that ANA already has the project done for the installation of a hub in Montijo, with contractors agreed and everything. “In the case of Montijo we already have the project. If after the SEA, another option is followed, obviously this will take more time,” he pointed out.
Especially because ANA does not have a plan B, he said. “It is necessary to make a new airport project and a new environmental impact study. A new project is two years,” explained the concessionaire’s CEO, warning that “time is money”.
And, in this case, what is at stake is “a lot of money”: hundreds of millions of euros for the national economy in three or four years of delay in a decision. “We have the will to invest, we have the project ready [for Montijo]. Obviously, a more expensive solution will be more difficult to find financing solutions,” explained Thierry Ligonnière.
At the end of September, the chairman of the board of ANA, José Luís Arnaut, said that a new airport would not be completed before 2035 or 2040. Days later, the minister of infrastructure said there must be a new airport infrastructure before that year.