Who owns the airports?

The Portuguese state owns the airports that are open to international commercial operations.


What system is there for the licensing of airports?

In Portugal, Decree-Law 254/2012, as amended, establishes the regulatory framework applicable to the concession to ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal SA of the airport public service. ANA is also the entity responsible for licensing the use of the public domain at those airports.

Economic regulation

Is there a system of economic regulation of airports? How does it function?

Yes. Decree-Law 254/2012, as amended, sets forth the rules for the economic regulation of the airports.

Such rules are applicable to:

  • every airport and aerodrome located in the Portuguese territory that is open to commercial traffic, the annual traffic of which exceeds five million passengers;
  • airport networks with an annual global traffic volume exceeding five million passengers; and
  • airports or aerodromes submitted to economic regulation by a Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) decision.


The objective scope of such economic regulation is:

  • the definition of common principles and rules applicable to the collection of charges paid by airport or aerodrome users for the use of facilities provided and services provided exclusively by the airport managing body in connection with the landing, take-off, lighting and parking of aircraft, and the processing of passengers, freight and mail; and
  • setting the quality of service indicators to be observed at airports and aerodromes.



Are there laws or rules restricting or qualifying access to airports?

Both EU regulations and Portuguese legislation apply to access to airports. For instance, regarding security, two EU regulations may be highlighted:

  • the Aviation Security Regulation (300/2008), as amended; and 
  • the Aviation Security Implementing Regulation (2015/1998), as amended.


Furthermore, Decree-Law 254/2012, as amended, states that without prejudice to the rules applicable to the use of the airport public domain, the occupation of land, buildings or other facilities, and the exercise of any activity and service in the area of airports and national public aerodromes, require a licence from the airport managing entities that are entrusted with its management and operation.

Slot allocation

How are slots allocated at congested airports?

Pursuant to the Slot Regulation (95/93), as amended, the congested airports in Portugal shall be designated as ‘coordinated’. Decree-Law 109/2008, as lastly amended by the Decree-Law No. 7/2020, designates as ‘coordinated airports’ the following:

  • Lisbon Airport;
  • Porto Airport;
  • Madeira Airport; and
  • Faro Airport, during the International Air Transport Association’s summer period.


Slots in congested Portuguese airports shall be allocated according to the Slot Regulation (95/93).

Ground handling

Are there any laws or rules specifically relating to ground handling? What are they?

Decree-Law 275/99, as amended, regulates ground handling activities, including the provisions regarding the licensing of ground handling operators and market access. This statute takes into account the rules provided for in the Council Directive 96/67/EC of 15 October 1996 on access to the ground handling market at Community airports.

Recently, Regulation (EU) 2020/696, which amended Air Services Regulation, provided for temporary rules on the supply of ground handling services at EU airports, in the context of the covid-19 pandemic and derogated some provisions of the Council Directive 96/67/EC.

Air traffic control

Who provides air traffic control services? And how are they regulated?

NAV Portugal EPE is the entity responsible for providing air traffic services in Portugal. Its statutes were approved by Decree-Law 404/98, as amended.

The provision of air traffic management and air navigation services (ATM/ANS) in the Single European Sky airspace and the design, production, maintenance and operation of systems and constituents used in the provision of those ATM/ANS is subject to, among other statutes, the Basic Regulation (2018/1139), which establishes common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

Law stated date

Correct on:

Give the date on which the above content is accurate.

30 June 2020.