After 40 years of demands from residents, Carlos Prates Airport, in the Northwest region of the capital of Minas Gerais, will be deactivated on April 1st. This month, the Executive presented a study on the destinations that the Municipality of Belo Horizonte (PBH) will give to the territory. The draft foresees the construction of a museum, health and education units, housing, the creation of a park and an industrial center.
Luzia Barcelos, a resident of the region and founder of the Atingidos por Prates movement, is concerned about the fact that the study was not prepared together with the community, which has been debating the agenda for years. On the last 20th, the movement met with the Executive to demand participation in the process. “The City Hall stated that this is just an initial draft and is willing to listen to the community”, she says.
In 2021, after technical studies and consultation with residents, Atingidos por Prates built a proposal to transform the airport into a large ecological park, with spaces for cultural and sports activities and an aviation museum. Luzia explains that improving the quality of life is the main desire of the inhabitants of the region, which is one of the densest in Belo Horizonte.
The leadership claims that the residents also demanded from the Executive the immediate occupation of the land, with the opening of the runway on weekends for leisure activities. “We know that these works are a project for more than ten years. We want to occupy this space right away, so that the population can appropriate the area that belongs to everyone”, he emphasizes.
:: Receive news from Minas Gerais on your Whatsapp. Click here! ::
Area of environmental importance
In the opinion of Rachel Almeida, architect and coordinator of the Casa Comum program, at PUC Minas, the study presented by the city hall has serious problems, such as excessive waterproofing and overpopulation. It should be noted that the territory is located in an area of special guidelines (ADE) in the Pampulha region.
Therefore, for the specialist, it is essential that the works take environmental issues into account. “For years, the region has suffered from floods at various points. We need to increase the drainage capacity. The airport can help supply the Ribeirão Arrudas and Onça basins,” she explains. She fears that waterproofing will impact, for example, flooding on the Ring Road and on avenues Tancredo Neves and Pedro II.
Rachel also highlights that the implantation of an industrial center and buildings in the territory of the airport, in addition to aggravating the traffic, would increase the temperature of the neighborhoods. “This densification will turn that peak (airport) into a heat island. And today we have the opposite there: a cool island in the city”, she warns.
The terminal has been the scene of serious accidents. The most recent one took place on the 11th, with one fatal victim and another in serious condition.
Between 2004 and 2020 alone, 47 incidents were recorded at the airport with five deaths. One of them, which took place in 2019, in addition to the crew member, also killed a pedestrian and a driver who were passing through the neighborhood.
Both in the study presented by the city hall and in the proposal prepared by the residents, there is a forecast for the construction of an airport memorial. The idea is that the space preserves the trajectory of the workers who worked in the territory.
Luzia clarifies that the community is not against the category and hopes that the change will bring improvements to the sector. “We believe it will be like what happened in Santa Catarina, where the terminal was transferred from an urban center to a place with more space and infrastructure”, she hopes.
Negotiation on deadlines
The concessionaires that manage Carlos Prates are trying to negotiate with the National Civil Aviation Agency (Anac) and the Brazilian Airport Infrastructure Company (Infraero) an extension of the deadline for closing the terminal.
This week, the mayor of Belo Horizonte, Fuad Noman (PSD), met with the sector to discuss the situation. “We are negotiating to extend the take-off period for the removal of vehicles, but the landing is suspended, that is, the airport will be closed”, explained the mayor.
Also this week, deputies from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo filed a request for urgent consideration of Bill (PL) 1302/2023, authored by federal deputy Greyce Elias (Avante), which calls for the extension of the activities at the airport for 24 months.
Luzia Barcelos, questions the initiative of the parliamentarian, who is from the city of Patrocínio, in the Alto Paranaíba region. “These are people who are not from the region, they have never even set foot in the territory, but they want to interfere in the reality of those who are affected by the impacts of the airport”, she criticizes.
Asked about the destination of vehicles and services carried out at Carlos Prates Airport, the Ministry of Ports and Airports informed in a note that the National Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SAC) “is preparing a legal instrument that will allow the Municipality of Belo Horizonte lead an organized shutdown process, allowing time for the hangared aircraft and the services provided to be transferred to other locations in an appropriate manner”.
Source: BdF Minas Gerais
Editing: Larissa Costa
Leave a Reply