Aeroporto da Madeira
|IATA: FNC – ICAO: LPMA|
|Operator||Aeroportos da Madeira|
|Elevation AMSL||58 m / 190 ft|
|Statistics (2011 / 2014)|
Source: Portuguese AIP
Madeira Airport (Portuguese: Aeroporto da Madeira), informally also known as Funchal Airport (Aeroporto do Funchal) (IATA: FNC, ICAO: LPMA), is an international airport in the civil parish of Santa Cruz, in the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira. The airport is located 13.2 km (8.2 mi) east-northeast of the regional capital Funchal after which it is sometimes informally named. It mostly hosts flights to European metropolitan destinations due to the importance of Madeira as a leisure destination.
The airport is considered one of the most peculiarly perilous airports in the world due to its location and its spectacular runway construction. The History Channel program Most Extreme Airports ranked it as the ninth most dangerous airport in the world, and the third most dangerous in Europe after Gibraltar International Airport and Courchevel Altiport.
In 1972, the popularity of visiting the island of Madeira increased, so the runway had to be extended to allow modern and larger aircraft to land. Considered the Kai Tak of Europe because of its singular approach to runway 05, the decision was made to extend the existing runway, instead of building a new one. In the meantime, a brand new terminal was built at the airport in 1973, handling 500,000 passengers.
The new runway and terminal were inaugurated on 6 October 2002, and to mark the occasion, an Air Atlanta Icelandic Boeing 747-200, registration TF-ABA, landed at the airport. Although this was a rare event, some TAP Portugal flights currently make scheduled stops at Madeira with Airbus A330-200 widebody aircraft on the Lisbon-Caracas-Lisbon route.
The airport was once infamous for its short runway which, surrounded by high mountains and the ocean, made it a tricky landing for even the most experienced of pilots. Between 1982 and 1986, Madeira's runway was successfully extended by 200 m (656 ft) to a total of 1,800 m (5,906 ft), and also four gates were opened. The original runway was only 1,600 m (5,249 ft) long, but was extended by 200 m (656 ft) 8 years after the TAP Portugal Flight 425 crash of 1977.
In 2000, the runway was again extended this time to 2,781 m (9,124 ft) almost doubling the size of the original runway. As landfill was not a realistic option, the extension was built on a platform, partly over the ocean, supported by 180 columns, each about 70 m (230 ft) tall. The extension of Madeira Airport was conducted by the Brazilian construction company Andrade Gutierrez, and is recognized worldwide as one of the most difficult to achieve due to the type of terrain and orography.
Its innovative solution allowed Funchal to receive the Outstanding Structure Award in 2004 by the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering, which aims at recognizing the most remarkable, innovative, creative or otherwise stimulating structure completed within the last few years.
The airport has a single terminal which opened in 1973. The terminal has 40 check-in desks, 16 boarding gates and 7 baggage belts. There are no air-bridges so passengers either walk the short distance to the terminal or are taken by shuttle bus. The terminal itself is mostly underground.
Airlines and destinations
|1||Portugal||Lisbon||865,994||EasyJet, Portugália Airlines, TAP Portugal|
|2||United Kingdom||London||227,096||EasyJet, Monarch Airlines, TAP Portugal, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways, British Airways, Norwegian Air Shuttle|
|3||Portugal||Porto||218,992||TAP Portugal, Transavia|
|4||United Kingdom||Manchester||59,367||EasyJet, Jet2.com, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways|
|5||Portugal||Porto Santo||47,684||Aero Vip|
|7||France||Paris||41,794||Aigle Azur, Europe Airpost, SATA Internacional, Transavia France|
|8||Finland||Helsinki||39,284||Air Finland, Finnair, Thomas Cook Airlines, Scandinavian|
Accidents and incidents
- On 5 March 1973, an Aviaco Sud Caravelle 10R (Registration EC-BID) crashed into the sea during the landing approach, losing the aircraft and three crew.
- On 19 November 1977, TAP Portugal Flight TP425, a Boeing 727-200 (Registration CS-TBR) was traveling from Brussels to Madeira via Lisbon. After a go-around, the aircraft attempted to land in poor weather conditions. It landed long on runway 24 (now runway 23) and plunged over a steep bank. It then struck a stone bridge and the right wing was torn off, and then crashed hard onto a beach. A fire then broke out, setting the aircraft alight. Out of the 164 on board, 131 lost their lives.
- On 18 December 1977, SA de Transport Aérien Flight 730, a Sud Caravelle 10R (registration HB-ICK) was cleared for approach on runway 06 (now runway 05), but descended below 720 ft (220 m) causing the aircraft to crash into the sea. 36 people died out of the 57 on board.
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- Estatística De Tráfego Aéreo 2010[dead link]
- EC-BID at the Aviation Safety Network
- CS-TBR at the Aviation Safety Network
- HB-ICK at the Aviation Safety Network
Media related to Madeira Airport at Wikimedia Commons