Government overrides objections from environmentalists
Portugal’s government has authorised more night flights at Lisbon airport from Tuesday until 28 November to change the air traffic management system, despite the negative opinion of environmentalists, according to an order published today.
The decree creates an ‘exceptional regime’ for aircraft operations at Lisbon airport during the period “strictly necessary to ensure the process of changing the air traffic management system, starting on 18 October and not extending beyond” 28 November 2022.
The limit on night flights is derogated by the ordinance, allowing aircraft operations at Humberto Delgado Airport between 00:00 and 2:00 and between 5:00 and 6:00.
In the first week, between 18 and 23 October, they cannot exceed 168, 86 flights in the second week, 75 in the third, 45in the fourth, 30 in the fifth and another 20 flights in the last week, between 21 and 28 November.
The law also introduces the obligation to notify the public, informing of the urgency and exceptionality of the process, the maximum duration of the derogation, identification of the areas overflown, weekly reports indicating the number of flights covered by the derogation and mitigation measures adopted to control the operations and performance of aircraft.
The public should also be made aware of the final report on the implementation and monitoring of the migration process of the air traffic management system.
The government said that “it is not a question of increasing the number of daily air movements already planned, but of allowing part of their redistribution to the night period, so that the carriers that have their operational base at the airport can carry out the planned night-stops in that infrastructure, the last daytime flights at night and bring forward the first flights of the day, making it possible to carry out air movements outside the slots previously allocated, for reasons which are not directly attributable to them, avoiding compromising the operation and subsequent planning of flights for the following days”.
The decree, which comes into force on tomorrow, has been published in spite of protests from environmental associations, such as Zero, which consider it “illegitimate” that in the name of updating an air traffic control system “citizens of Lisbon and Loures are being called upon to be sacrificed with intolerable night-time noise levels“.
In July, Zero denounced noise levels at Lisbon airport already exceeded legal limits and warned that the regime restricting night flights was not being complied with, citing measurements made during the week beginning July 11, which indicated a total of 140 movements between 00:00 and 06:00.
Zero’s point is that if limits on noise and night flights were being ignored before this new ‘exceptional regime’, what is the betting that they will continue to be ignored after it is scheduled for conclusion in November?