Beja and Alverca join the list of locations for the new airport under consideration

“We are going to analyze other options which, in the meantime, have also reached us in the form of proposals […] and the resolution of the Council of Ministers provided for this, that we have decided which other proposals we will analyze and, therefore, we will also analyze, at least more of Alverca and more of Beja, which have already reached us", said, in an interview with Lusa, professor Rosário Macário, who is part of the CTI that will carry out the strategic environmental assessment for the expansion from the airport in the Lisbon area.

The CTI has Professor Rosário Partidário as general coordinator and has a team of six technical coordinators, including university professor Rosário Macário, specialist in the planning and operation of transport systems, who was responsible for coordinating the area airport planning.

Created at the end of last year, the CTI, based at the National Civil Engineering Laboratory (LNEC), in Lisbon, is currently listening to "all the entities concerned by the subject", in order to come up with a set of criteria that "will be used to analyze the different hypotheses", explained Rosário Macário.

“At this time, we are open to receiving proposals from entities or groups interested in presenting development proposals and which we will analyze. In a first phase, we analyze them all with a set of criteria, then the result of this first phase will be that we are left with a reduced number of alternatives which will then be evaluated in more depth”, underlined the professor of the Higher Technical Institute (IST).

The resolution of the Council of Ministers approved last year defined the constitution of a CTI to analyze five hypotheses for the Lisbon airport solution (Portela + Montijo; Montijo + Portela; Alcochete; Portela + Santarém; Santarém), but on condition that they can be added other options.

According to the technical coordinator, in the coming weeks the promoters of all the alternatives will present the projects in detail to the CTI and to the Monitoring Commission, headed by engineer Carlos Mineiro Aires.

"By the end of March we will carry out the first evaluation and, therefore, the first phase will end in April and from April there will be no more proposals", stressed Rosário Macário.

Reports containing the CTI's findings must be closed until November, after which they move to the public discussion phase.

Asked whether it makes sense to have a Lisbon airport far from the city, as, for example, in the case of Santarém or Beja, which are more than 80 kilometers away, the university professor pointed out that physical distance is not the most relevant factor.

“The most relevant are always the accessibility in time and the alternatives to get to town from the airport. Obviously it is not desirable that it is too far, but the distance in time is, let's say, the main aspect and it depends on the offer that exists, the modes of transport and the solutions of displacement”, he pointed out.

According to Rosário Macário, each of the hypotheses “implies rethinking accessibility”.

Other factors to consider in the analysis are, he listed, the cost of infrastructure, the impacts generated and the potential for expansion.

“We are working on a 50 year horizon and in 50 years a lot of changes, the technology changes, a lot of changes and therefore the cost, obviously, is a relevant factor, but it is not the only factor” , did he declare.

Asked if expansion capacity is a factor that rules out the possibility of Montijo, Rosário Macário said it's a location that "has limited capacity, at the moment", but "it all depends on what can be done". , not being excluded . "It is not excluded, nor chosen," he stressed.

In the event of the construction of an airport ex nihilo, the specialist estimates that from the moment the decision is taken, until the moment when a new airport can be fully operational, it can take "ten, 12 years, even a a little a little more”.

“If we look at cases of recent airport development, we have cases where they were developed in eight years, ten years, we have others which took 18 and 20, so it all depends if there are problems of a contractual nature, of an expropriation nature”, warned.


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