Madeira Airport

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Madeira Airport
Aeroporto Internacional da Madeira
Madeira Airport (May 2015).jpg
Airport type Public
Operator ANA
Serves Madeira, Portugal
Location Santa Cruz
Elevation AMSL 58 m / 190 ft
Coordinates 32°41′39″N 16°46′41″W / 32.69417°N 16.77806°W / 32.69417; -16.77806Coordinates: 32°41′39″N 16°46′41″W / 32.69417°N 16.77806°W / 32.69417; -16.77806
LPMA is located in Madeira
Location in Portugal
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 2,781 9,124 Asphalt
Statistics (2011 / 2014)
Aircraft movements 21,346
Passengers 2,459,793[1][2]
Source: Portuguese AIP

Madeira Airport (Portuguese: Aeroporto da Madeira ), informally also known as Funchal Airport (Aeroporto do Funchal) (IATA: FNCICAO: 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[3] 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.[4]


A Boeing 727 of the Hapag-Lloyd Flug at Madeira Airport in 1978

Madeira Airport was officially opened on 18 July 1964, with two 1,600 m (5,249 ft) runways. The first flight ever to land was a TAP Air Portugal Lockheed Constellation with 80 passengers on board.

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,[5] 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.[6] 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.

In 2016, it was announced that the airport will be named as Cristiano Ronaldo Airport (Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo) in honour of Madeira native football player Cristiano Ronaldo.[7][8]



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,[9] which aims at recognizing the most remarkable, innovative, creative or otherwise stimulating structure completed within the last few years.[10][11][12]


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[edit]

Madeira Airport Runway
View of the airport from Machico
Partial view of the airport's main building
Main check-in desks hall
Airlines Destinations
Aero VIP Porto Santo
Aigle Azur Paris–Orly
Air Berlin Berlin–Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Leipzig/Halle, Munich
Seasonal: Nuremberg, Vienna
ASL Airlines France Montpellier, Paris–Charles de Gaulle
ASL Airlines Ireland Seasonal charter: Dublin[13]
Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Vienna
Azores Airlines Gran Canaria, Ponta Delgada
Seasonal: Faro
Seasonal charter: Boston (begins 28 December 2016)[14]
British Airways London–Gatwick
Brussels Airlines Brussels (begins 1 April 2017)[15]
Binter Canarias Seasonal: Gran Canaria, Tenerife–North
Condor Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Stuttgart
Corendon Airlines Seasonal: Amsterdam[16][17]
easyJet Bristol, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London–Gatwick, Manchester, Porto
easyJet Switzerland Basel/Mulhouse (begins 6 December 2016)[18]
Edelweiss Air Zürich
Enter Air Seasonal: Gdańsk, Wrocław, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Poznań[19]
Finnair Helsinki[20][21]
Germania[22][23] Bremen, Dresden, Erfurt/Weimar, Friedrichshafen, Hamburg, Nuremberg Münster/Osnabrück
Iberia Seasonal: Madrid[24]
operated by Air Nostrum
Seasonal: Bilbao, Madrid East Midlands, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, London-Stansted (begins 3 April 2017),[25] Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne[26]
Jetairfly Brussels[27]
Lufthansa Frankfurt (begins 5 November 2016)[28]
Luxair Luxembourg
Monarch Airlines Birmingham, London–Gatwick, Manchester
Niki Seasonal: Vienna
Neos Milan–Malpensa
Norwegian Air Shuttle Seasonal: Copenhagen, Oslo–Gardermoen, London–Gatwick
Primera Air
TAP Portugal
Charter: Göteborg, Oulu
Scandinavian Airlines Charter: Stockholm–Arlanda
Small Planet Airlines Seasonal: Vilnius
operated by Travel Service Airlines
Seasonal: Prague
TAP Portugal Lisbon, Porto
Thomas Cook Airlines Manchester
Seasonal: Glasgow, London–Gatwick, Porto Santo
Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium Brussels
Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia Seasonal: Copenhagen, Helsinki
Thomson Airways Birmingham, Exeter, Glasgow, London–Gatwick, Manchester
Seasonal: Bournemouth, London–Luton, Newcastle upon Tyne (ends 31 October 2016), Nottingham/East Midlands
Transavia Amsterdam
Transavia France Lyon, Porto
Seasonal: Paris–Orly, Nantes
Travel Service Airlines Charter: Prague, Strasbourg
Travel Service Polska Charter: Katowice, Warsaw–Chopin, Wrocław
TUI Airlines Netherlands Seasonal: Amsterdam
TUIfly Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Cologne/Bonn, Frankfurt, Hanover, Munich, Stuttgart
Ukraine International Airlines Charter: Kiev–Boryspil
Volotea Charter: Nantes, Beauvais, Clermont–Ferrand, Dijon, Perpignan, Marseille, Saint–Etienne[29]
Vueling Seasonal: Barcelona[30]
White Airways Charter: Lyon, Nantes, Paris–Charles Gaulle, São Vicente


Busiest routes from Madeira Airport (2010)[31]
Rank Country City Passengers Carriers
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,, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways
5  Portugal Porto Santo 47,684 Aero Vip
6  Netherlands Amsterdam 44,270 Arkefly, Transavia
7  France Paris 41,794 Aigle Azur, Europe Airpost, SATA Internacional, Transavia France
8  Finland Helsinki 39,284 Finnair, Thomas Cook Scandinavia
9  United Kingdom Bristol 38,201 EasyJet
10  Germany Düsseldorf 37,626 Air Berlin

Accidents and incidents[edit]

SA de Transport Aérien Sud Caravelle 10R (HB-ICK) hauling from Geneva (two years before its accident at Funchal)
  • 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.[32]
  • 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.[33]
  • 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.[34]


  1. ^ "About ANA > News > News > Madeira Airport with record passenger numbers in 2014". ANA Aeroportos de Portugal. ANA Aeroportos de Portugal S.A. 9 January 2015. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "Madeira Airport with record passenger numbers in 2014". VINCI Airports. VINCI Concessions. 13 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "The world's scariest airport landings: videos". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. 18 June 2016. 
  4. ^ The Most Extreme Airports (video). The History Channel. 26 August 2010. 
  5. ^ 10 Most Dangerous Landing Strips in the World
  6. ^ "Old Memories – 747 in Madeira – Rui Sousa, Looking through the glass". 
  7. ^ "Madeira airport to be named after Cristiano Ronaldo". FourFourTwo. FourFourTwo. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "Madeira airport renamed after Cristiano Ronaldo". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  9. ^ "Funchal Airport Extension, Madeira Island, Portugal". 
  10. ^ "OStrA". 
  11. ^ "The Outstanding Structure Award". 
  12. ^ "Outstanding Structure Award". 
  13. ^ "Sunway-Flights". Sunway. 11 October 2015. 
  14. ^ "SATA vai voar de Boston para o Funchal no Ano Novo". 
  15. ^ "Brussels Airlines adds new short-haul destinations in S17". routesonline. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  16. ^ "Vakantie Funchal, goedkope zonvakanties - Corendon". 
  17. ^ "Fly & Drive Kleurrijk Madeira". 
  18. ^ "easyJet Plans New Routes in 16Q4". routesonline. Retrieved 30 June 2016. 
  19. ^ "Madeira com novos voos da Polónia". 16 June 2014. 
  20. ^ Drum, Bruce (17 November 2014). "Finnair announces new scheduled services to Ho Chi Minh City, Eilat, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Madeira". 
  21. ^ "Finnair". 
  22. ^ "Germania Flight Schedule / 30.12.2014 - 01.11.2015" (PDF). Germania. 
  23. ^ "Madeira - Germania -". 
  24. ^ "Funchal y San Petersburgo, más destinos de verano de Iberia" (in Spanish). Iberia Group. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ " makes Madeira destination #30 from Newcastle". 9 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "Jetairfly Flight Plan". Jetairfly. 
  28. ^ "Lufthansa nonstop von Frankfurt nach Madeira". 
  29. ^ "Volotea vai começar a operar para a Madeira a partir de aeroportos regionais franceses". Dnoticias.Pt. 11 October 2015. 
  30. ^ "Vueling começou hoje a voar para a Madeira - DNOTICIAS.PT". 
  31. ^ Estatística De Tráfego Aéreo 2010[dead link]
  32. ^ EC-BID at the Aviation Safety Network
  33. ^ CS-TBR at the Aviation Safety Network
  34. ^ HB-ICK at the Aviation Safety Network

External links[edit]

Media related to Madeira Airport at Wikimedia Commons