“This year, denying flights is not yet a reality. Next year we will very likely reach, we hope, the best year ever and then we will start having problems with flight denials again”, said Pedro Nuno Santos.
He added that “in the coming days” the Government will provide “more information about the airport”, but admitted that the disturbances expected for next year will be aggravated further due to issues already related to circulation and waiting times in the airport.
“We have a structural problem, with an airport that is exhausted and needs an answer”, he said, considering it necessary for the country to be able to reach a broad consensus for the implementation of a new airport, in order to ensure that every time a government or minister changes, “we do not go backwards”.
For Pedro Nuno Santos, “it is important that we work on this consensus and on finding a positive solution”.
When asked about the long waiting lines at Lisbon airport, the official stressed that “the Ministry of Internal Administration has already presented a contingency plan, which will be fully implemented from the beginning of July and we hope that this will help with the queues”.
The Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas also defended again that “Lisbon needs a new airport”.
“We have to have this new airport. This new airport depends on a choice made technically and not politically. We will be on the side of the solution for the construction of the new airport. That is the political decision: not to let another ten years go by without deciding. We have to decide,” he said.
Waiting times in the arrivals area of Lisbon airport exceeded three hours last Sunday, due to “insufficient resources and SEF border control posts in operation”, said ANA Aeroportos.
The Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) clarified this week that on Sunday there was a peak of passengers in arrivals which caused "severe delays at border control".
Ana Vieira from SEF also stressed that the long waiting lines at Lisbon airport reflect the exponential increase in tourism and an inadequate infrastructure for the number of passengers.
"Very honestly, we were not prepared for this exponential increase in tourism and passengers, and the infrastructure itself, as the Minister of Internal Administration has already said, is also not adequate for this reality", said Ana Vieira.