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WHeRe WiLL THe AiRPORT LAnd? A nARRATiVe ABOUT

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WHeRe WiLL THe AiRPORT LAnd? A nARRATiVe ABOUT
Where will the airport land?
A narrative about the locative
uncertainty of the New Lisbon Airport
1
ONDE ATERRA O AEROPORTO? NARRATIVA ACERCA
DA INCERTEZA LOCATIVA DO NOVO AEROPORTO DE LISBOA
Jorge Gonçalves
[email protected]
Investigador do CESUR – Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa
Susana Marreiros
[email protected]
Bolseira de Investigação do CESUR – Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa
ABSTRACT/RESUMO
It is an established fact that an airport can be an instrument for development on a national and regional scale
while having significant repercussions on the local level. It
is equally true that it is an enormous investment wrapped
in great project complexity. The specific case of the New
Lisbon Airport (NLA) is a good example to prove these assumptions, and can also be considered a paradigm for a
particular way of thinking about the territory.
Thus, the NLA must be perceived as a heavy infrastructure and a complex process in its materialisation and also
in the shock waves that it generates in the territory. However, to these obvious observations should be added other
less neutral issues, regarding technical and political aspects. Those issues were the ones that disturbed (and still
disturb) the NLA process. The political matters are related
to the asymmetry on public investment between Northern
and Southern Portugal, which the Northern social and economic actors consider to be a reinforcement to the already
existent distributive inequities. It is not just about the sum
involved but also about the opportunity costs, as the basis
of the discussion is the priority given to the NLA project.
Regarding the technical aspects, the need for the airport
has never been clearly proven, the chosen locations were
never a unanimous decision, and the type of airport to implement was never consensual.
1
É consensual a ideia de que um aeroporto pode ser um
instrumento para o desenvolvimento à escala nacional e regional, ao mesmo tempo que traz repercussões significativas ao nível local. É igualmente verdade que se trata de um
enorme investimento e que o envolve uma enorme complexidade projetual. O caso concreto do novo Aeroporto
de Lisboa (NAL) é um bom exemplo para comprovar mais
uma vez estes pressupostos, mas também pode ser considerado como paradigma de um modo particular de pensar
o território.
Assim, o NAL deve ser visto como uma infraestrutura
pesada e um processo complexo na sua caracterização mas
também nas ondas de choque que gera no território. Contudo, a estas observações óbvias deve acrescentar-se um outro
conjunto de questões bem menos referidas de caráter técnico mas também político, acabando por ser as que perturbavam (e perturbam) mais o processo. As questões políticas
relacionam-se com as assimetrias do investimento público
entre o Norte e o Sul do País, reforçando, no entender dos
atores sociais e económicos do Norte, as injustiças distributivas já existentes. Não se trata apenas dos montantes envolvidos, mas também dos custos de oportunidade associados,
já que na base da discussão está o grau de prioridade conferido a este projeto. Do lado das questões técnicas, desde o
início que nunca ficou claramente comprovada a necessida-
1
This work has been carried out within the SPOTIA project “SPOTIA: Sustainable Spatial Policy Orientations and Territorial Impact Assessment – Contribution to Portuguese Context” (PTDC/CS-GEO/105452/2008), funded by the Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT). The
authors would like to acknowledge the research team for its engagement in this research process.
Revista Portuguesa de Estudos Regionais, n.º 37, 2014, 3.º Quadrimestre
58
Jorge Gonçalves
•
Susana Marreiros
All of this complexity and tension has been portrayed in
very diverse ways by the media, either through news articles, reports, debates, analyses or opinion pieces. The complex relations that this paper aims to describe are based on
the collection, processing and systematisation of journalistic material published between 2007 and 2012, available
through Google© News, and a posterior analysis combining that information with the decision-making documents
identifiable through the Diário da República editions.
The NLA story hasn’t ended yet. There is a constant
deepening of its complexity (ANA was privatised, the NLA
was suspended, studies were made to materialise the “Portela+1” solution) and its implications on the territory and
the communities (plans that are suspended, reconsidered
or restarted, preventive measures, agreements with the Action Program for the West and Tagus Flatlands 2008-2017
of around 2 billion euro, etc.).
This research helped to demonstrate that even for an
investment that implicates an enormous financial effort
and delicate consequences on land-use planning, decisional drifts are a reality. The territory, regional development
and technical matters are moved to the background in a
process that is juggled between the published opinions
and the politics’s (in)decision.
de do aeroporto; nunca foram unânimes as implantações selecionadas; nunca se consensualizou o tipo de aeroporto.
Toda esta complexidade e esta tensão foram sendo retratadas das mais diversas formas nos media, através de notícias, reportagens, debates, análises e artigos de opinião.
As relações complexas que este paper pretende descrever
baseiam-se apenas na recolha e no tratamento do material
jornalístico publicado entre 2007 e 2012, acessível no Google© News, e no seu posterior cruzamento com as várias
tomadas de decisão política possíveis de identificar através
das edições do Diário da República.
O processo ainda não estancou, quer no aprofundamento da sua complexidade (a ANA foi privatizada, o NAL suspenso, desenvolveram-se estudos para concretizar a solução
Portela+1, etc.), quer nas suas implicações nos territórios
e nas comunidades (planos que são suspensos, revistos e
voltam à forma inicial, medidas preventivas, acordos como
o Programa de Ação para o Oeste e a Lezíria do Tejo 2008‑2017 na ordem dos dois mil milhões, etc.)
A pesquisa serviu para demonstrar que, mesmo para um
investimento que envolve um enorme esforço financeiro e
delicadas consequências no ordenamento do território, a
deriva decisional é a regra, ficando o território, o desenvolvimento regional e até as questões técnicas secundarizados
num processo que se esgrime essencialmente entre a opinião publicada e a (in)decisão política.
Keywords: Locative Uncertainty, Lisbon, New Airport, Media, Non-Decision Costs
Palavras-chave: Incerteza Locativa, Lisboa, Novo Aeroporto,
Media, Custos da Não-Decisão
JEL Codes: R38, R42, R53, R58
Códigos JEL: R38, R42, R53, R58
1. INTRODUCTION
1.1. PURPOSE
The main purpose of this paper is to give an overview
of the recent NLA history (2007-2012) as it was portrayed
in the media and intersect that with the airport legislation released during the same time slot. This way, it is
shown that uncertainty is part of public works, even when
they represent large investments whose progress should be
more focused on the territory’s development rather than
the published opinions or political hesitations.
where there was some dubiety on the theme of the article.
The gathered material totalizes 259 news pieces that were
chronologically sequenced and organized in six analysis
groups: Ota: Alcochete; Portela+1; Locative Uncertainty;
Delays; Miscellaneous.
FIGURE 1. RESEARCH/ANALYSIS STEPS PLAN.
1.2. METHODOLOGY
Through research and compilation of journalistic material published between 2007 and 2012, as well as an indexation of all the decision-making documents published
during that period, a database was created in order to develop this study.
The e-clipping process was possible through Google©
News. The titles and subtitles were the main elements considered, and the full article was also used in a few cases
Revista Portuguesa de Estudos Regionais, n.º 37, 2014, 3.º Quadrimestre
Where Will the Airport Land? A Narrative about the Locative Uncertainty of the New Lisbon Airport
The media sequence was then articulated with the published decision-making documents, in order to compare
and reflect on the evolution of the production of the two
types of documents.
The methodological sequence of research/analysis steps
is represented in the following plan:
The main limitations to this methodology are related
to the uncontrolled universe of the news pieces. However,
the large amount of articles gathered helps to mitigate any
eventual gap.
1.3. SPOTIA – THE PROJECT
This paper was created under the SPOTIA1 Project
(Sustainable Spatial Policy Orientations and Territorial Impact Assessment – Contribution to Portuguese Context).
The main goal of this project is to study the Portuguese
plans and programs and assess how they intervene in territorial development, analyzing them within the mainland
regions and through three different case studies: the New
Lisbon Airport (NLA); the Portuguese high-speed rail (HSR)
and the EFMA (Multiple-Purpose Undertaking of Alqueva);
a project linked to the Alqueva Dam.
There are eight tasks within SPOTIA (see Figure 2). The
first three tasks feature theoretical analysis of land use management and policies. Tasks 4, 5 and 6 are directly related
to the case studies. Task 7 structures all the inputs from
previous tasks and Task 8 synthesizes the whole project.
FIGURE 2. PROJECT TASKS PLAN.
There are several participating institutions in this project. The principal contractor is Instituto de Geografia e
Ordenamento do Território da Universidade de Lisboa
(IGOT). The research team at Instituto Superior Técnico
was assigned to examine the NLA case study. Thus, the
production of this paper was one of the outputs of the
work developed.
1
Projeto SPOTIA: Orientações de Política Territorial Sustentável e Avaliação de Impactes – Contributos para o Caso Português
(PTDC/CS-GEO/105452/2008). Coordinated by CEG – Universidade de Lisboa; with the participation of CES – Coimbra and UTL.
59
When the SPOTIA project started, in 2010, the construction of the new airport was a given. Then, when it
was postponed indefinitely, the approach towards the NLA
case study had to change. The questions asked in the analysis went from a “when” to an “if” thematic.
2. THE DECISION: COMPLEXITY AND RISK
The decision on the construction and location of
large-scale infrastructures and facilities is currently one
of the most complex responsibilities that regional and national governments have to face. The complexity results
not only from the fact that today there are more decisions
to be made, which is why Reese-Schafer (2000) and Shimank (2005) speak of a decision society, but also from
the expectation that the decisions will be made on a rational basis or, to put it another way, in a way that illustrates the risk of a bad decision and its consequences
(Shon, 1967).
According to Innerarity (2009), one can identify three
dimensions to this decision process complexity: a social
dimension, which results from interdependencies between
the various social stakeholders, meaning that a decision
can end up interacting with other decisions and having not
always foreseeable consequences, such as conflicts or the
disruption of expectations. Insecurity of the decision process can arise from this lack of knowledge; a knowledge
dimension, associated with the excess or insufficiency of
information, which, in either case, can lead to ambiguities and contradictions that question the solidity of the
decision; and a temporal dimension that has to do with
the limited time frame for the decision making process.
Time constraints almost always play a role in the decision
process and can be deemed responsible for less informed
or less responsible decisions, given that a rational process
may be restricted when deadlines are tight.
These dimensions, individually or together, can contribute to generating decision externalities which, at worst, can
inhibit the decision process, even if it is in a hidden or
indirect way. A decision can thus be a “non-decision”, a
simulacrum of a decision or an effective decision. A “nondecision” is the product of a persistent and irremediable
lack of decision making as to the action to be taken or of
a deliberate option to not do anything that would generate more negative externalities than advantages. However,
in some cases, the costs of a “non-decision” may not be
fully taken into account. A decision simulacrum leads to
the emergence of positions that may have a lot of conviction behind them but end up not being realised because the
simulacrum is then forgotten or because it is changed in the
meantime (perhaps to other simulacra) or because, with the
passage of time, it becomes inconvenient or not well adapted. There is also the possibility of a decision that will lead
to consequential actions, but only with time delays that can
be quite considerable. Here, impositions by supranational
institutions may play an important role, such as the Euro-
Revista Portuguesa de Estudos Regionais, n.º 37, 2014, 3.º Quadrimestre
60
Jorge Gonçalves
pean Union or entities on which the State may depend for
a number of reasons, including financial ones.
2.1. DECISION COMPLEXITY AND THE NEW LISBON
AIRPORT
The decision process for large-scale infrastructures, such
as an international airport, is illustrative of this discussion
of decision complexity. In the case of such large infrastructures, one can also factor in the spatial consequences. The
aforementioned dimensions to decision complexity can be
applied to the New Lisbon Airport (NLA) process and help
to throw light on a troubled course over decades.
The social dimension crystallises the political, institutional, economic and financial tensions that have always
been present in the process, as we will see further on.
Political, due to the expected impact on the planned location, on the site of the abandoned facility and on other
places that are affected by a new facility that has a potentially structuring effect in terms of regional and national
development. As a result of the decision one can expect
new dynamics to emerge in some places and new weaknesses in other, which will lead to reactions from political
stakeholders. Institutional, on account of the diversity of
visions present in the central and regional governments
as a result of differing sectoral and territorial positions.
Economic, due to the transfer of the airport from its current location in Lisbon to another site in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, requiring a reconfiguration of the direct
and indirect economic system and the system created by
the new airport. The public works as a bringer of employment and economic development also play a role in the
tensions generated here. And financial – due to the opportunity costs it may result in and the long-term commitments it requires, the decision to build and locate the new
airport brings significant risks with it, as the financial dependence of countries with very volatile financial markets
does not leave a large security margin. For the above reasons, taking the responsibility for a decision of this type is
much more difficult.
In the case of the NLA, the knowledge dimension has
been one of the most vulnerable because the insufficiency
or inconsistency of the technical arguments – be they in favour of the new facility or for a certain location – has not
generated solid confidence amongst all stakeholders. One
only has to recall the varying capacity constraints for the
current airport in terms of passengers and aircraft parking
(systematically resolved with physical extensions and better parking management), the (constantly increasing) costs
involved or even the location decision itself, in which various decisions were taken without there being a clear supremacy of one option over the others.
Finally, the time dimension, in which the time frames
and deadlines are shortened (or extended), depending on
the dates presented for the exhaustion of capacity of the
existing infrastructure or the possibilities for community
funding. However, the sovereign debt crisis makes it nec-
•
Susana Marreiros
essary to review all these priorities, meaning that this dimension may be relegated in importance.
3. THE AIrPORT AS A CATALYST FOR…
3.1. … THE ECONOMY
According to Cejas (2006), the quality of service that
passengers receive at an airport (both at arrival and departure) is an important indicator of satisfaction, and tourists
take that into account when globally evaluating their stay.
Therefore, an airport with good facilities is more likely to
attract more people.
Every airport has a maximum capacity, a specific amount
of traffic that it can endure while keeping its service quality
and scheduled duties. What happens then when an “old”
airport is about to reach its maximum capacity, i.e. when the
demand grows in a way that cannot be fulfilled by the current supply? The price of using the almost saturated airport
would increase, thus preventing a rise on demand. This can
be achieved by resorting to a “peak hour” surcharge. Not
only it helps stabilize the demand at certain periods but also
brings in extra profit for the airport (Zhang & Zhang, 2001).
The economic dimension of an airport in a city like
Lisbon has the potential to be strengthened through more
features. For instance, there is a strong possibility to increase the passengers’ demand through the airport’s capacity of being a hub, allowing for travels between continents
and countries. Lisbon is a fundamental airport in which
concerns????? the connection to South America, particularly
Brazil, and also to African countries such as Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde.
The economic expression is also related to the airport’s
potential for air cargo regarding, for example, parking slots
and relation to surrounding logistics areas. Nowadays, the
knowledge about this dimension continues to deepen with
the concept of Aerotropolis (Correia and Silva, 2013).
3.2. … EMPLOYMENT
Research has proven that employment is influenced by
airline traffic. According to Brueckner (2003), an increase of
10% in passenger enplanements generates a 1% increase in
employment in service-related businesses. Furthermore, a
study in the Netherlands showed that the Amsterdam Schiphol
airport’s growth between 1987 and 1998 generated an additional 42000 jobs in 1998 (Hakfoort & Rietveld, 2001).
The employment increase caused by a new airport (or
the expansion/renovation of an old one) does not happen
in only one way. As Ergas and Felsenstein (2012) explain,
there are direct demand effects and derived demand effects. Direct demand effects are related to the direct results
within the airport sector, mainly employment and profit
generated by the airport. Derived demand effects are about
the indirect results or “second round effects”, for example,
hotel investment and job creation outside the airport, etc.
Revista Portuguesa de Estudos Regionais, n.º 37, 2014, 3.º Quadrimestre
Where Will the Airport Land? A Narrative about the Locative Uncertainty of the New Lisbon Airport
3.3. … REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The impacts generated by an airport infrastructure in
the territory, economy and employment are always high
and not often fully analysed on a first approach.
It is important to consider the territory. The extensive
space consumption of an airport demands for a selective
location, free of preexistences and environmental/ecological constraints. Related to this direct space consumption
there are the consequences related to access, logistics/
business areas and complementary infrastructures (parkings, hotels, theme parks…).
The effects on regional development can result from the
increment of all those dimensions – increase of passengers,
businesses, accessibilities… There is also real estate growth
in the urban expansion areas designed to accommodate
employees and companies as well as the touristic buildings.
Thus, we can summarise the airport’s consequences by
considering that the transportation of people and goods
generates a first phase appearance of support structures
61
such as business, accessibility, real estate and infrastructures. Later, complementary effects are expected to emerge
in the economic activities that can take advantage from an
airport, such as agriculture and tourism.
4. CONTEXTUALIZATION AND
CONCEPTUALIZATION OF THE NLA
4.1. THE LISBON METROPOLITAN AREA (LMA)
The LMA is the area of the Lisbon NUTS II. This region
has an area of 3001,9 km2 and it is divided by the Tagus
River into two NUTS III, which have 9 municipalities each
(see Figure 3). Amadora, Cascais, Lisboa, Loures, Mafra,
Odivelas, Oeiras, Sintra and Vila Franca de Xira constitute
the Greater Lisbon NUTS III, on the North bank of the
Tagus River. Alcochete, Almada, Barreiro, Moita, Montijo,
Palmela, Sesimbra, Setúbal and Seixal make the Setúbal
Peninsula NUTS III, in the Southern side of the river.
FIGURE 3. THE LISBON METROPOLITAN AREA (LMA) AND ITS MUNICIPALITIES
The number of inhabitants in the regions to the south
of Lisbon rapidly increased in the second half of the 20th
century. This growth and expansion happened mainly due
to the construction of two bridges connecting the Lisbon
municipality to the southern side of the Tagus riverbank:
the 25 de Abril bridge (opened in 1966) and the Vasco da
Gama bridge (opened in 1998). According to the 2011 Census, the LMA has 2.821.876 dwellers, which means a 6% increase in population since 2001 and represents 28% of the
mainland Portugal inhabitants.
4.2. LISBON AND ITS AIRPORT BACKGROUND HISTORY
Lisbon has been the capital of Portugal for over 750 years,
and its central location in the country and good port accessibility have contributed to consolidate its status as the biggest
and most important city in Portugal. Throughout the years,
new and better accesses were created to/from and around
the city. With the constant growth and promising development of aviation and after the use of a few landing fields, the
Lisbon City Hall agreed upon the construction of a national
Revista Portuguesa de Estudos Regionais, n.º 37, 2014, 3.º Quadrimestre
62
Jorge Gonçalves
airport. Julião et al. (1988) narrate that after over four years of
constructions, the Lisbon Airport opened in October 1942, in
the area of Portela de Sacavém. The selection of this location
was based on two main factors: proximity to the city centre
and proximity to the riverside – the latter being a characteristic whose relevance faded throughout the subsequent years
as seaplanes lost popularity over “ordinary” planes.
Only one year after its opening, the Lisbon Airport was
subject to an expansion plan, and it has had several renovation/expansion works since then.
The first talks about a new airport for Lisbon are not as
recent as they might seem: it was the year of 1958 when
the Ministry of Public Works first mentioned the possibility
of a new location for the capital’s airport.
The options selected by the GNAL (Office for the New
Lisbon Airport) in 1972 consisted of areas to the South of
the Tagus river such as Alcochete, Fonte da Telha, Montijo,
Portela, Porto Alto and Rio Frio. Another location had been
talked about since the 1960s, but didn’t get much emphasis
until the early 1980s: Ota, an area in the Northern side of
the riverbank, about 50 km from Lisbon. This option was
perceived as the best one for several years.
4.3. TIME SLOT FOR THIS RESEARCH: THE LATE YEARS
As time passed by, some alternatives for the New Lisbon
Airport (NLA) were discarded, others were more highlighted, and thus the uncertainty remained as the clearest fact.
One side of the discussion defended that Ota was the
best option, and this location was a certainty for several
years. However, the questions about Alcochete kept in-
•
Susana Marreiros
creasing, and they started to jeopardise the option previously taken for granted.
The government decided that this “new” option
should be studied and compared with Ota. Therefore,
it was requested that the LNEC (National Laboratory of
Civil Engineering) would develop a comparative analysis
of the two locations to identify which one would present less costs and more benefits. On the one hand, Ota
had better accessibility but it required heavy earthworks.
On the other hand, Alcochete’s overall costs were slightly
lower despite it being located in an ecologically sensitive area.
In early 2008, the LNEC report concluded that Alcochete would be the most appropriate location for the new
airport. However, even after this official confirmation was
made by the government, the NLA continued to be on the
public eye for a while.
Another option that gained popularity in recent years
was Portela+1. This alternative refused the construction
of a new airport and the closing of the Portela airport.
Instead, it supported an apparently more low-budget option: the maintenance of Portela and the use of an air-base
in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area as a secondary airport for
low-cost companies. Some of the debated locations were
Sintra, Alverca and Montijo (see Figure 4).
This paper focuses on those latest developments on
the NLA history: the period between 2007 and 2012. That
time was a particularly volatile one and it generated some
of the most controversial advances and retreats regarding
this issue, and also the most intense media coverage this
topic has had before or since then.
FIGURE 4. AIRPORT/AIRFIELD INFRASTRUCTURES IN THE LMA AND ITS SURROUNDING MUNICIPALITIES
Revista Portuguesa de Estudos Regionais, n.º 37, 2014, 3.º Quadrimestre
63
Where Will the Airport Land? A Narrative about the Locative Uncertainty of the New Lisbon Airport
5.2. CLASSIFYING THE NEWS
After the comprehensive search and compilation of 259
articles, each of the items collected was classified into a
category, according to which theme was more highlighted
in the headline (or in the intro, when the headline itself did
not provide enough information). This was made with the
purpose of creating an evolution graph, showing which
kind of news was more relevant on each year.
Besides, it was decided that a timeline should be created. It was necessary to summarise the information in order
to understand the yearly evolution more clearly, thus having a stronger knowledge of “the big picture”. To achieve
this, the more relevant articles were selected while the less
important ones were discarded. The criteria for this selection was based on the importance that the reported information had in the history of the NLA, and it was decided a
In order to create the evolution graph – with the locative variations and legal reactions – it was necessary to categorise each of the 259 news articles, as described on 4.2.
The six categories created were Ota, Alcochete, Portela+1,
Locative Uncertainty, Delays and Miscellaneous. Each article was associated with one category (see Table 1). With
this classification, the analysis of the evolution was possible, comparing the percentage of each category of news
throughout the years.
Total
Miscellaneous
TABLE 1. YEARLY AMOUNT OF NEWS ARTICLES
FOR EACH OF THE DEFINED CATEGORIES
Delays
The first step was to collect as much relevant information as possible.
It was decided that the best way to analyse the evolution of the NLA history would be through news articles and
a few other media writings such as reports, debates, analyses and opinion pieces. Those texts narrate the timeline of
events, decisions, advances and retreats and also all the
controversy attached to such a large-scale undertaking.
In order to compile the articles, an online research was
done through the news search engine Google News. With
the purpose of gathering the most important texts, a custom time range was set: every week from 1st January 2007
to 31st December 2012 was searched separately, so that no
crucial developments would get lost in the creation of the
chronology. The keywords used in the search were “novo
aeroporto Lisboa” (new Lisbon airport).
6.1. A PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY REGARDING
THE NLA
Locative
uncertainty
5.1. COLLECTING AND ORGANIZING THE DATA
The Google© News search outputs presented several
news that were discarded from the beginning because they
did not have anything to do with the NLA itself (e.g. news
about unrelated infra-structures or investments in which
the costs were compared to those of the NLA).
Portela+1
5. applying the methodology
6. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS
Alcochete
News articles contain within them a series of characteristics that should be taken into consideration throughout this analysis. Sousa (2001) explains that news narrate
specific situations as they happened, which means they
are not always 100% objective, especially if we consider
the philosophical and epistemological notion according to
which objectivity is the total appropriation of a certain object of knowledge by the individual who knows it.
Even when a news article mentions that a certain infrastructure will cost X million euro, it is well known that
public works budgets are never fully agreed on by every
technician involved, and they also change as time goes by.
Moreover, the speech used in news is not neutral and the
choice of words plays a defining role in the interpretation
of the article.
priori that editorials and most news solely based in opinions were to be put aside.
Ota
4.4. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MEDIA TO UNDERSTAND
THE LOCATIVE UNCERTAINTY OF THE NLA
2007
16
15
3
10
4
16
64
2008
5
19
0
2
0
15
41
2009
0
15
0
1
2
19
37
2010
1
24
0
0
11
30
66
2011
1
3
2
0
11
14
31
2012
0
2
6
0
1
8
17
The Miscellaneous category was ignored for further
analysis, as it had opinion articles and news that were irrelevant for the analysis of the NLA progress.
The diagram above is a very good way to represent
the different types of news, because the evolutions and
differences between each year reflect the recent history of
the NLA:
• In 2007 it is visible how there is a certain balance between the news that highlighted Ota and the ones that
highlighted Alcochete. The locative uncertainty was
more present than it would be in all the following years.
2007 was a year of studies and assumptions.
• During 2008, the Ota option lost some relevance in the
total amount of news that were released. This was the
year of the decision as to where the NLA would be
Revista Portuguesa de Estudos Regionais, n.º 37, 2014, 3.º Quadrimestre
64
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•
•
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Jorge Gonçalves
built: Alcochete. Therefore more than 2/3 of the news
highlighted this location.
In 2009, Ota was not mentioned at all, and Alcochete
gained even more visibility on the news (83% of the
NLA-related news). The uncertainty was smaller than
in the previous couple of years, gaining an almost residual relevance. Some delays started to be reported,
but not enough to overshadow the Alcochete spotlight.
2010 marked a slow beginning on Alcochete’s loss of
popularity, caused by an increase on delays and postponements. The Resolution of the Council of Ministers
– that extended the preventive measures for one more
year – is a specific example of why the delays became
more and more frequent.
In 2011, the delays increased even more, consisting of
nearly 2/3 of the total of articles collected. The residual
reference to Ota has to do with the fact that compensatory measures for the Ota lands were at stake at the
time, facing the risk of never being put into practice.
The news that highlighted Alcochete presented in 2011
the lowest proportion in the time slot. Moreover, the
Portela+1 option had started to be mentioned, something that had not happened since 2007 (before the
NLA location was officially decided).
In 2012, the proportion of articles mentioning Portela+1 represented 2/3 of the NLA-related news headlines.
It was the highest variation between two consecutive
years in this study.
•
Susana Marreiros
FIGURE 5. 2007-2012 YEARLY PROGRESS.
6.2. TIMELINE
After selecting only the most important news, there
was an average of 3,1 articles per trimester, whose headlines, dates and sources were organized in a calendar, followed by a short quarterly summary of those news.
It was then noted that those summaries clearly showed
if each trimester had been marked by progresses/confirmations regarding the construction of a new airport, or if in
the other hand it had been a trimester during which there
were delays, setbacks and/or uncertainties.
Therefore, when making the timeline image, the quarterly summaries were coloured in green or red, depending
on whether they represented steps forward or back on the
NLA process (see Figure 6).
FIGURE 6. LOCATIVE UNCERTAINTY: SYNTHESIS TIMELINE
Revista Portuguesa de Estudos Regionais, n.º 37, 2014, 3.º Quadrimestre
Where Will the Airport Land? A Narrative about the Locative Uncertainty of the New Lisbon Airport
6.3. THE LEGAL ENACTMENTS
While there were steps forward and steps back regarding the media procedures, there was also a production of
enactments about the NLA problem, although they also
contributed for the same indecision framework. Between
2007 and 2011 there were 8 new relevant legislative documents and only one regarded a decision to locate the
65
NLA in Alcochete (see Table 2); all the others were related to the comparison of alternatives and the creation or
revocation of preventive measures. Besides these 8 most
important enactments, other legal documents about airport-related topics were also released, mainly regarding
the privatisation of ANA (the airport authority of Portugal),
but those were discarded for this analysis.
TABLE 2. LIST OF THE MOST IMPORTANT LEGAL DOCUMENTS RELATED TO THE NLA (2007-2012)
Type of document
Date
Description
Decree-Law
September
2007
Creates a system of services acquisition in order to conduct a compared technical analysis of the
different locative alternatives for the NLA.
Resolution of the
Council of Ministers
January 2008
Ratifies the LNEC report that compares the alternatives for the NLA and defines actions that have to
be developed for the implementation of the project.
Resolution of the
Council of Ministers
May 2008
Adopts the conclusions and recommendations of the LNEC report, and confirms the approval of
the NLA location in Alcochete.
Decree
July 2008
Creates preventive measures for the Alcochete area where the NLA is planned to be built and its
surrounding areas.
Law
August 2008
Revokes the law that extended the term of preventive measures of soil occupation in the Ota area.
Resolution of the
Council of Ministers
March 2010
Creates preventive measures for two years (extendable for one more year), for areas needed to
build the train connection to the NLA.
Resolution of the
Council of Ministers
July 2010
Extends, for one year, the preventive measures in the area planned for the construction of the NLA
and its surrounding areas.
Resolution of the
Council of Ministers
November
2011
Approves the Strategic Transport Plan, which supports the idea of rethinking the NLA with
an approach towards the management of Portela and the possibility of turning an airfield
infrastructure into a small airport for low-cost companies.
In order to make the 2007-2012 evolution analysis more
thorough, the enactments related to the NLA were analysed together with the news. This temporal articulation between the
published opinion/news and the enactments (see Figure 7)
shows us how the legal documents have a slower dynamics.
Even when the NLA process was stagnant and the Portela+1
option had gained prominence, those changes were still not
shown in any governmental decision, and that was worsened by the fact that the restrictions to the land use in the Alcochete area were maintained through preventive measures.
FIGURE 7. 2007-2012 YEARLY PROGRESS, SHOWING THE MOST IMPORTANT ENACTMENTS
THAT WERE RELEASED DURING THOSE YEARS
Revista Portuguesa de Estudos Regionais, n.º 37, 2014, 3.º Quadrimestre
66
Jorge Gonçalves
6.4. FINAL REMARKS
This paper aims to portray an (in)decision process
about one of the most impactful infrastructures that could
be installed in the territory: the New Lisbon Airport. This
portrait – far from being a mere description – intents to
demonstrate the successive indefinitions that happened in
the period between 2007 and 2012; and, at the same time,
it aims to illustrate how the legal decisions come after the
pressure from the media, with a pronounced lag.
The mutations that occurred throughout this 6-year
period are not merely vicissitudes; they are expressed in
the form of territorial consequences. Those consequences
can be caused by legal documents that impose preventive
measures, by rules from land management instruments, or
by the real estate behaviour.
Therefore, when the location, the characteristics or the
temporal materialisation of this kind of infrastructure change,
the whole economic, social and territorial framework is
strongly affected. Taking that into account, a compensation
agreement between the Portuguese Government and the
Western municipalities – affected by the non-construction of
the NLA in Ota – was signed in 2008. This agreement (“WestFlatlands Action Program”) was worth 2 billion euro in compensations for the losses caused for several years.
However, even if nothing changes formally – as it is
happening now – the indefinition still results in costs, since
contradictory expectations continue to be fueled, making it
impossible to set a consistent and articulated path towards
the development of the territory.
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•
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