Aeroporto Humberto Delgado, also called Aeroporto de Lisboa or Aeroporto da Portela, (IATA code: LIS, ICAO code: LPPT) is located mainly in the parish of Olivais, in Lisbon, Portugal. It is the largest Portuguese airport in terms of passenger numbers, and also the one with the highest traffic volume. It opened to traffic on October 15, 1942.
Since 1962 it has been served by two runways, 03/21, with a length of 3805 m, and 17/35, with a length of 2400 m, both paved and 45 m wide. It has two civil terminals (T1 and T2) and also a military terminal, known as Figo Maduro Airport.
It serves as a base for the Portuguese flag carrier, TAP Air Portugal, and is managed by the company ANA Aeroportos de Portugal.
On May 15, 2016, Lisbon Airport acquired the official name of Aeroporto Humberto Delgado.
This is the main European hub for Brazil, functioning as the largest Star Alliance hub for South America. It is also one of the most important European hubs for the African continent.
The TAP Air Portugal headquarters, Building 25
Until the inauguration of the Humberto Delgado Airport (then Portela Airport), Lisbon was served by a primitive airport called Campo Internacional de Aterragem, located in Alverca, which became operational in 1919 and was deactivated in 1940.
In the 1930s transatlantic flights between Europe and America were made by seaplane for safety reasons. Only after crossing the Atlantic did passengers change to land-based planes that took them to their final destination.
Lisbon airport being Europe’s westernmost capital, the city was the ideal terminal on the European side of these transatlantic connections. For that reason, the Portuguese government decided to transform Lisbon into a major air hub for international flights. Two airports were planned for Lisbon: one maritime, for seaplanes, and the other terrestrial, for conventional airplanes. Another reason for the construction of these infrastructures was the fact that in 1940 the great Exhibition of the Portuguese World would take place and it was predicted that it would attract many flights with foreign tourists to Lisbon (this didn’t happen due to the beginning of World War II).
In 1938 work began on the two airports, which were completed in 1940. Portela Airport was built as a land airport, in honor of Quinta da Portela, which existed on the land where it was built, and as a sea airport, Cabo Ruivo Airport was built, on the banks of the Tagus River and about 3 km from the former. For a fast connection by car between the two airports, a roadway called Avenida Entre-os-Aeroportos (now Avenida de Berlim) was built.
The transatlantic flight system worked with seaplanes coming from America, mooring in the Tagus River and disembarking their passengers at Cabo Ruivo. From there, they were transported by car to Portela. At Portela Airport they were distributed among the various planes that would take them to different destinations in Europe. Passengers going from Europe to America followed the opposite route.
The Cabo Ruivo Airport, which was located where the Olivais Dock is today in Parque das Nações, was deactivated with the complete end of regular passenger flights by seaplane at the end of the 1950s. Since then, only the Portela Airport has remained.
Airbus A321NEO of the Portuguese TAP Air Portugal, at Humberto Delgado Airport, Lisbon
On August 1, 2007, the new Terminal 2 was opened to the public, only for low-cost airline departures.
The Airport station was inaugurated on July 17, 2012 and is the terminus station of the Red Line. From then on the airport could be connected by high-capacity transport to the most important points of the city and in just a few minutes. The Airport Metro station is connected to the airport terminal via an underground gallery. Metropolitan studies are underway for future expansions from the airport station.
On January 8, 2019, the financing agreement for the expansion of Lisbon’s airport capacity was signed. The event took place at Montijo Air Base No. 6, the proposed location for the development of an airport that will operate in an integrated manner with Humberto Delgado Airport. Lisbon will benefit from a dual model that combines the hub operation of Humberto Delgado Airport with a point-to-point operation at Montijo Airport. On the same day, ANA Aeroportos de Portugal published a video with the expansion project: by 2028, the airport will have 89 parking positions and 72 movements per hour (combined capacity).
This plan included: the construction of 3 new Terminal 1 piers, perpendicular to the main building, the construction of a new taxiway parallel to runway 03/21, and the relocation of AT1 Figo Maduro to make room for the construction of more remote parking positions.
As early as 2020, two new fast track exits were built, one for each orientation of 03/21.
In 2021, IP revealed that it had studied the construction of a connection between Humberto Delgado Airport and the national railway network. One of the hypotheses studied by the infrastructure manager was a tunnel between the Cintura Line, in the Parque da Bela Vista area, and Terminal 1 of the Airport, which would have an estimated cost of 74 million euros.