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Aerodrome awaits approval from neighbouring councils

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

A project to build an aerodrome in Loulé has received the green light by the National Institute of Civil Aviation, but a positive response by the neighbouring councils is still needed.

Following the conclusion of a feasibility study carried out by ANA Aeroportos de Portugal, the national airports authority, Loulé Mayor said this week that “some issues were raised regarding the construction of the aerodrome, but if all goes well, this facility could help towards the development of this area.”

Loulé manor, Seruca Emídio believes that “to develop and start this project, partnership with private entities is needed and their contribution towards the construction of the aerodrome is currently being negotiated.”

The new aerodrome, which is expected to be located at Campinas de Baixo, near the Cimpor cement factor, will cater for light aircraft and small private jets, serving as an alternative to Faro airport.

“With the new infrastructure, we are hoping to attract executive and private flights,” Seruca Emídio told the Algarve Resident.

Expected to be a boost for the region’s tourism industry, the aerodrome will also be available for the civil protection services, particularly in operations to combat forest fires.

Meanwhile, residents in the area expressed their concerns about the aerodrome project.

Frances Ruddick told the Algarve Resident this week that she was unhappy that Loulé Mayor was continuing to spend tax payers’ money “at an alarming rate” at a time when the government had announced cost-cutting measures.

She also stressed that only two weeks ago the city centre’s tarmac roads were being turned into calçada, as part of the redevelopment plan for Loulé at a cost of 700,000 euros.

“A week later and Loulé Mayor is looking for a business partner to build an aerodrome for light aircraft and executive jets, predicting that it will cater for 6,450 flights per year. I wonder who are these millionaires that require a private aerodrome? Faro Airport, a mere 20 minutes away, is surely more than adequate,” she said, adding that recently Loulé Câmara was criticised by environmental association Almargem for its lack of green credentials.

“Previous damage to the environment will pale into insignificance if bulldozers destroy the unspoiled valley between the Loulé hills and the motorway where the proposed aerodrome is likely to be sited,” said Frances Ruddick.

Another resident Sylvia Birch told the Algarve Resident that she objects to the project as “it will destroy the peace of the countryside, which is precious in this day and age”.