Portugal’s national airports operator, ANA, is to sign an agreement with the government to develop the Montijo air base as Lisbon’s second commercial airport.
ANA management are preparing for a mid-February announcement of the long-awaited government decision to transform Montijo, in a deal which also may involve an extension of ANA’s 30-year contract to manage Portugal’s airports.
The government has chosen the Montijo air base solution, rather than Sintra or Alverca, or building a completely new airpot at Alcohete, on logistical, cost and speed grounds.
The costs involved at Montijo include a compensation payment to the Air Force, said to be around €400 million, and the installation of new road links in addition to on-site conversion work.
Both the mayor of Montijo, Nuno Canta, and the president of TAP, Fernando Pinto, publicly have expressed their willingness to get involved and to find solutions to any cost hurdles in converting the Air Force base.
ANA’s holding company, the French owned Vinci Group, see an investment in Montijo as a way of extending its current ANA agreement as well as taking advantage of the boom in air traffic in and out of Portugal.
Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado airport is approaching its capactity of 23 million passengers per year and with tourism on the increase, this level will be reached in the summer of 2018 with TAP, Ryanair and easyJet planning to increase the number of routes in and out of Lisbon.
The success of Lisbon brings passenger capacity problems in the summer months and the addition of Montijo, which the government wants to see operating in 2018, will ease the pressure on the capital’s airport.
The use of Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport with Montijo air base already has been evaluated by Navegação Aérea de Portugal, which considers that the ‘Lisbon + 1’ solution is an adequate one, based on a 2016 report from Eurocontrol, the international body responsible for the Single European Sky.