Portugal’s airports management company, the French-owned ANA, has been given six months to present a proposal to the Government to turn the Montijo airbase into a commercial airport aimed at relieving the pressure on Lisbon’s overstretched Humberto Delgado airport.
A memorandum of understanding was signed today, stating that "within a period of 180 days from today’s date" a report on Montijo will be submitted that will include a new master plan for the expansion of capacity at Humberto Delgado Airport, in order to replace the previously approved Lisbon Airport Development Plan.
ANA has to come up with a budget for the development of the Montijo infrastructure, overall construction costs, financing costs and how long it will all take.
ANA also has agreed to reduce long-term parking for aircraft at Humberto Delgado airport as the 2012 agreement between the French and the government, foresaw the expansion at Humberto Delgado when "three or more capacity factors" had been reached. That time is this summer when the expected rise in passengers will create an overload in Lisbon that needs to be relieved somewhere.
Successive governments have avoided the issue of another airport for Lisbon and now the Socialist administration faces the entirely predictable situation of having no alternative airport ready in time.
Meanwhile, on the subject of airport security, the Minister of Internal Administration, has an ambitious proposal to protect Portugal’s airports from bad people and terrorist attacks, a proposal that will turn Portugal’s airports into veritable fortresses with fences topped with razor-wire, sensors and video-surveillance on an unimaginable scale.
The protection of the security perimeter fence must be "inviolable" and the minister, Constança Urbano de Sousa, also wants a special area in international arrivals and departures zones to hold passengers that the authorities consider risks.
Portugal’s is the first known plan for the protection of critical infrastructure, as now required by the European Union.
Constança Urbano de Sousa’s ‘Security Measures for National Airports,’ is considered "ambitious and well structured" by the police and the document is being sent to several ministries for contributions.
The project was jump-started when Algerian and Moroccan citizens developed the habit of fleeing across the tarmac at Humberto Delgado Airport in Lisbon, much to the embarrassment of the security forces including the PSP, the Judicial Police, the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) and the Security Information Service (SIS).
Access cards issued to all employees in cleaning, catering, handling, fuel and security, among others - all of whom need to get into restricted areas.
The minister wants to keep illegal immigrants at bay, stressing that "the risks of illegal immigration have increased because of the pressure of illegal immigration on Europe, which includes abusive use of international protection mechanisms, such as asylum and subsidiary protection, to enter the EU or the Schengen Area, without complying with the rules of admission, often associated with illegal immigration networks."
Constança Urbano de Sousa, Minister of Internal Administration