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Lisbon restructures airspace to hike airport capacity

Portuguese air navigation service Nav Portugal has approved a project intended to increase the capacity of the capital's Lisbon airport.

The project involves a restructuring of Lisbon terminal airspace and the conciliation of civil and military air traffic.

Nav Portugal says it aims to raise the capacity of the airport to 72 aircraft movements per hour, compared with the present level of 44.

Central to the plan is the ceding of airspace in the Sintra region from April next year and the partial ceding of Monte Real airspace from summer 2021.

The intention is to reroute traffic and introduce a point-merge system at Sintra which will reduce the requirement for aircraft to enter holding orbits.

Point-merge systems are designed to use a precision area navigation route structure enabling aircraft to be directed to a specific merging point – after following an approach leg of appropriate sequencing distance – without the need for radar vectoring.

Nav Portugal adds that the vertical and lateral boundaries of military airspace will be redefined and new procedures introduced for the municipal Cascais airport to the west of Lisbon.

"Operational reorganisation of airspace will increase the airport capacity and offer a more efficient airspace structure, enabling better traffic management on the approach to Lisbon, thereby reducing delays," it says.

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