Faro Airport (Portuguese: Aeroporto Internacional de Faro) (IATA: FAO, ICAO: LPFR), also known as Algarve Airport, is located 4 km (2.5 mi) to the west of Faro in Portugal. The airport opened in July 1965. A total of 5.6 million passengers used Faro airport in 2011. The airport became a hub for the first time in March 2010, when Ryanair decided to base seven of its aircraft there. The airport gets very busy during the summer months, namely from March to October, to the extent that the airport becomes a slot coordinated airport.
Faro Airport is capable of handling six million passengers a year. There are 22 stands of which 16 are remote, with 60 check-in desks and 36 boarding gates.
Since its opening in 1966 Faro airport has had two major developments, the new passenger terminal building in 1989 and its enlargement in 2001. Faced with growing traffic demand and passenger safety and satisfaction needs, the development plan for 2009-2013, means Faro airport undergoes extensive improvements to runway and infrastructure as well as a widespread renovation of the airport terminal and commercial areas, namely:
Increase of aircraft parking capacity from 22 to 33 positions, which will increase ATM’s from 22 to 30 per hour and passenger flow from 2400 to 3000 mov/h.
Increase operational safety.
Increase of airport capacity from 6 million to 8 million passengers per year.
Functional and architectural modernisation of the airport terminal.
On 21 December 1992, Martinair Flight 495 skidded off the runway in bad weather at Faro Airport killing 54 passengers and two crew out of a total of 340 people on board.
On 29 December 2009, the terminal building flooded due to severe weather and leaks in the roof. This caused many problems inside the terminal, no flights were cancelled although some passengers were unable to check in due to the flooding.
On 24 October 2011, an overnight storm had collapsed portions of terminal roofs and blown out most windows in the control tower. Four people were slightly and one severely injured.