“The new airport will not be built if the environmental study does not allow it,” stated Portugal’s prime minister, a day after signing the agreement to create a second Lisbon airport at the Montijo air base.
Prime Minister António Costa’s statement about the missing environmental impact study could lead environmentalists to conclude that he already knows the study’s contents and recommendations to be acceptable.
The agreement between the state and ANA, for an investment of €1.15 billion to 2028, agrees the conversion of Montijo into a civilian airport and essential expansion work to the current Lisbon airport, Humberto Delgado at Portela.
Under the terms of the deal, €650 million of the investment will be used for the first phase of the expansion of Lisbon airport, with €500 million funding the new Montijo site, Vinci said.
Stood next to his Minister for the Environment, Costa today stated to the press, “The issue of the airport … it will not be done if the environmental impact study does not allow it.”
“The study of environmental impacts on the new airport in Montijo can say several things. You can say ‘yes, under certain conditions,’ and ANA is committed to do the work according to any conditions to be defined. You can say ‘yes, without any restriction,’ or you can say ‘no.’ The report is not likely to say ‘no,’ regarding an infrastructure that is already an airport,” argued the PM, certain that the recommendations of the environmental report, however dire or restrictive, can be included in the ANA work programme.
The prime minister’s overriding concern is for speed as Lisbon’s current airport is operating at capacity and politicians of all hues have wasted decades in addressing the future infrastructure needs of the capital.
Costa warned that any negative environmental assessment of the planned work ay Montijo would be a “huge problem for the Lisbon region” because Plan B, the construction of an airport at Alcochete would take “10 to 15 years” to be carried out instead of the three years planned for the ‘Portela+1’ solution – the new airport in Montijo, “which will solve the problem for many decades.”
Whatever the environmental study concludes, Montijo airport is expected to start operating in 2022, with a capacity of seven million passengers.