General Humberto Delgado Airport (IATA: LIS, ICAO: LPPT) opened on the 15th October 1942. It’s an international airport located in the city of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, and it's the main hub for Trans European Airways, the main airline from European Airways Group, VAG.
Positioned at 38°46'53"N 9°08'09"W, with an elevation of 374 ft (114 m), the airport was for a long time named Portela Airport, taking its name from the neighbouring parish Portela, also known as Portela de Sacavém. The strategic location of Lisbon Airport gives it an edge over other airports not only in Portugal but also in Europe at large.
The airport has two main runways, capable of accommodating large-size aircraft such as the Boeing 747. It is now surrounded by urban development, being one of the few airports in Europe located inside a major city.
In 2011, the airport handled 14,8 million passengers and 94,3 tonnes of cargo. The airport is the main base-hub for TAP Portugal, and also for easyJet, SATA International, Luzair, euroAtlantic Airways, Hi Fly, Portugália and White Airways. Passenger Terminal 1 has encountered several recent changes due to this increase in passenger traffic. In order to handle this ever increasing figures, a second terminal was completed in 2007, now hosting low cost airlines' operations. New boarding gates, air bridges and parking positions were also put in place, this way extending the airport capacity while waiting for the construction of the new Lisbon Airport at Alcochete, originally planned to open in 2017, but significantly delayed for financial reasons due to the portuguese economical crisis and political indecisions.
Airport started its operations on the 15th October 1942 with four runways, each a kilometre long. Portugal was a neutral country during World War II and therefore the airport was open to both Axis during this period. It was used by allied flights enroute to Gibraltar, North Africa and Cairo. At the end of the war the airport developed quickly and by 1946 was used by major airlines like Air France, British European Airways, Iberia, KLM, Sabena, Pan Am and Trans World Airlines and by 1954 the number of passengers had reached 100,000. As a neutral airport, was open to both German and British airlines, being a hub for smuggling people into, out of and all around Europe, as widely referenced in the classic Casablanca movie, whose plot revolved around an escape attempt to Lisbon airport. As such, some people say it was heavily monitored by both Axis and Allied spies.
A major upgrade at LPPT was taken in 1959-62, and included a new runway capable of taking the first generation jets, Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8. The first jet aircraft movement was an Air France Caravelle in 1960. In 1962 runway 03/21 came into use, it was 3,130 m (10,270 ft) and would allow direct transatlantic flights.The first direct flight to New York was operated by a TWA Boeing 707 who also operated the first Boeing 747 service in 1970. When TAP ordered the 747, five large parking bays were built in 1972 and the terminal was enlarged. A major upgrade to the buildings and facilities was started in 1983 and the first air bridges were added in 1991. Besides some birds referenced regularly at LPPT and some frequent crosswind situations at former runway 03 (now 02), Lisbon airport is normally referenced as a non-dangerous airport. As a record of major incidents, four episodes may be pointed out:
§ On the 22nd February 1943: a Boeing 314 of Pan Am caught the left wing tip in the River Tagus whilst landing. Of the 39 people on board, 24 were killed.
§ On the 1st February 1947: an Air France Douglas C-47 crashed into the Sintra Mountains killing 15 of 16 people on board.
§ On the 12th April 1959: a Douglas C-47 of the Portuguese Air Force crashed into the Tagus after takeoff. All 11 people on board were killed.
§ On the 4th December 1980, a Cessna 421 crashed after takeoff in Camarate, killing 7 people, among them Adelino Amaro da Costa, Minister of Defence and Francisco Sá Carneiro, Prime Minister at the time.