Euro 2004 – SEF plans strike

Incoming flights to Portugal could be cancelled in the event of the Foreign and Frontiers Office (SEF) calling a strike during the forthcoming Euro championship.

The director of Lisbon airport, Francisco Severino, and the director of Porto’s Sá Carneiro airport, Fernando Vieira, also warned that, should the threatened strike be called, flights would either be cancelled or diverted to Spain. Neither of the directors was able to comment on the number of flights that would be affected.

“If the SEF strike is confirmed, Lisbon airport will have to delay or cancel flights because the two SEF officers, who are needed in order to ensure a minimum service, will not be able to cope with the high number of passengers expected during Euro 2004,” confirmed Francisco Severino.

The SEF strike, earmarked for May 13, 14, 27, 28 and June 11,12, 16 and 17, is worrying officials. “Any strike causes problems with our operations, but we are all hoping that this strike does not take place,” said the director of Lisbon airport, who stressed that the success of Euro 2004 was “a national aim”.

ANA, the airport management company, has spent a total of 12 million euros on the three main airports that will receive passengers visiting Portugal to attend the European Football Championship. Lisbon airport has invested 4.5 million euros in improving services so that the facility will be able to handle the extra passengers generated by the event. A new terminal two, situated in the military zone (Figo Maduro), is due to be finished on May 27. This will have 16 additional landing bays and capacity for 2,800 passengers per hour.

Porto’s Sá Carneiro airport, which will receive spectators for the 16 games to be staged in the north of the country, has been expanded so that it can handle 3,200 passengers per hour. “Terminal two is going to be ready by May 24, in time to serve the Euro tournament. This means we will not have any problems, although we expect great movement,” explained Fernando Vieira. Faro Airport is expected to process 2,400 passengers every hour during the championship.