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A new international airport for Lisbon is on the horizon, Montenegro says

After decades of discussion and disagreement, a newly elected prime minister promises to finally make the much-awaited airport a reality.

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PUBLISHED

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UPDATED: 17 May 2024, 7:39 am

Portugal’s Prime Minister Luis Montenegro announced on Tuesday that a new international airport would be built in the municipality of Alcochete, about 40 kilometres outside Lisbon, ending a decades-long back-and-forth over the location of the project.

Reuters reports that the chosen location, currently a military airfield, was the one favoured by an independent technical commission that studied several sites. The municipality, while quite small at less than 20,000 residents, is part of the Lisbon metropolitan area and offers relatively easy access to the capital as well as plenty of room for expansion – something quite challenging at the airport’s current location.

The new Luís de Camões airport, named for the famous Portuguese poet, will completely replace the current international airport when it’s completed in 2034. “The government sees having one single airport as a solution more suited to the country’s strategic interests,” explained Montenegro.  

[See more: Korean Air launches direct flight to Lisbon from Incheon]

In the meantime, however, Humberto Delgado International Airport will be expanded. Portugal is enjoying a tourism boom, attracting record numbers of visitors and pushing the airport well beyond capacity in recent years, much to the frustration of many in the tourism industry. Hitting 34 million passengers in 2023 – far exceeding the 25 million capacity – it is the busiest single-runway airport in mainland Europe.

The new airport will begin as a two-runway model with capacity for 90 to 95 movements per hour and the possibility to expand to up to four runways, which may be needed as estimated passenger traffic may exceed 100 million by 2050. To make the less central location more convenient for passengers, the government also announced the construction of a third bridge crossing the Tagus. Whether it will be exclusively for trains or also automobiles has not been decided.

“I just hope this is a definitive decision and it won’t be called into question by other governments, something we have unfortunately seen in recent years,” said Francisco Calheiros, head of the Portuguese Tourism Confederation. If the new airport does go through, it will be a big win for the new centre-right minority government, elected just two months ago.

UPDATED: 17 May 2024, 7:39 am

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