Humberto Delgado Airport (in Portuguese, Aeroporto da Portela) (IATA: LIS, ICAO: LPPT), also known as Lisbon Airport or Portela Airport, is located in the Olivais (in Lisbon) and Camarate and Prior Velho (in Loures). It is the largest airport in Portugal and one of the largest in southern Europe, serving as a hub for the country’s main airline, TAP Air Portugal. In 2017, the airport had 26,700,000 passenger traffic, 18.7 per cent more than in 2016
Until the inauguration of the Portela Airport in Lisbon, an old airport called Campo Internacional de Aterragem (International Landing Field) located in Alverca was in operation, which became operational in 1919 and ceased to be used in 1940. In the 1930’s, transatlantic flights between Europe and America took place in hydroplanes for security reasons.
After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, passengers were transshipment on land-based planes taking them to their final destination. As Lisbon was the most western capital of Europe, the city became a strategic terminal from the European side for transatlantic flight links.
For this reason, Portugal intended to transform Lisbon into a major international air link. For this reason, two international airports were projected in Lisbon: one sea, for hydroplanes and one ground for conventional aircraft. Another reason for the construction of these infrastructure was the fact that in 1940 the great Portuguese World Exhibition was to be held in Lisbon, which envisaged attracting many flights with foreign tourists to the city (a fact that did not occur because of the beginning of the previous year of the Second World War).
Work started at the airports in 1938 and completed in 1940. The Portela Airport was built as a ground airport, in homage to the Portela Freguesia, and the Cabo Ruivo airport was built on the banks of the Tajo River, 2 miles from the first airport. The transatlantic flight system operated with the hydroplanes coming from America, landing on the Tagus River and disembarking their passengers on Cape Ruivo. From there, they were transported by car to Portela. At Portela Airport they were bound by planes to different parts of the rest of Europe. Those who were going from Europe to America made the way in the opposite direction.
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