Portugal’s Ministry for Economy and Employment has announced plans to transform the new Beja Airport in the south of the country into a hub for low-cost airlines.
The Portuguese government is looking for ways to transform Beja Airport into an attractive alternative hub for low-cost airlines such as easyJet, in a bid to stimulate the use of the gateway which has been hit by the financial crisis since it was built.
Located in Portugal’s rural Lower Alentejo region, work started on a passenger terminal at the gateway before the global financial crisis reduced demand for flights to the region.
As a result, since its completion in April 2011, Beja Airport has only attracted minimal attention from charter airlines.
Currently, there is only one flight operating between the UK and Beja – a summer-only service from Heathrow, operated by tour operator Sunvil Discovery – and a flight operated by TACV to Boa Vista in Cape Verde.
In December last year, Sérgio Monteiro, the state secretary for transport, visited Beja to urge local authorities and MPs to find alternatives to stimulate the use of the airport, which he described as “a point of retraction” as there are “bills to be paid, which burden the state and the entities which contribute towards the Airport Development Company (EDAB)’s investment.”
The hope is that Beja Airport will serve as an alternative to busier airports such as Lisbon Portela Airport and Faro Airport.
The gateway is located 150km from Lisbon, 120km from Faro and less than 60km from Spain.