The chairman of the executive committee of ANA Aeroportos de Portugal, Thierry Ligonnière, has stated that the laws must be adhered to regarding night flights, but defended the need for 'some flexibility'.

The official explained that ANA does not have a position when it comes to the banning of night flights at Lisbon Airport, stating that this is instead a political decision.

“It is necessary to comply with the regulations” he said, noting however that it is necessary to“ take into account the specifications of some airlines in relation to their markets and their operational organisation”.

According to Thierry Ligonnière “there are airlines that need some flexibility in terms of night flights”, since many flights are conditioned by “meteorological phenomena”.

“There are other companies that also need another flexibility [...] because they feed the first ‘hubs’ in Amsterdam, Paris, etc.”, he added, stressing that for passengers to catch the morning connections from those airports, they have to leave Lisbon “at five or six ”.

For ‘low cost’ companies, the flexibility of night flights is “less relevant,” he said.

Currently, the Airport Humberto Delgado, in Lisbon, has a capacity of about 38 movements per hour, a value that may increase up to 48, recalled the CEO of ANA.

Thierry Ligonnière stressed however that this will only happen if there is environmental licensing and the government authorises it.

The chairman of ANA’s executive committee also defended the importance of moving forward with the construction of Montijo airport in order to relieve pressure from the capital’s airport infrastructure.

It is estimated that “traffic will resume in 2024/2025 to the level of 2019”, he recalled stressing that, at that time, if there is no new airport, the city will again suffer from the pressure caused by airport activity.

Regarding the number of flights at each airport, the president of ANA noted that “there is a technical possibility of developing one or the other depending on what will be the political decision”.

Thierry Ligonniére also mentioned that ANA wants to proceed with a soundproofing programme this year in the buildings most affected by the noise caused by the airport, but that the source of financing is still under discussion.
A month ago, the president of the environmental association Zero, Francisco Ferreira, insisted that the existence of night flights at Lisbon Airport “is completely unacceptable” and stressed that “noise kills”.

Francisco Ferreira stressed that the measurements made by Zero indicate that the noise levels exceed the established limits, even during a time when flight numbers have been reduced due to Covid-19 restrictions.

In February of last year, the Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina (PS), stated that he would not tolerate the return of night flights after the expansion works at Portela Airport.

The Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, later considered this to be “a fair demand” by Fernando Medina.