Madeira Airport

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Madeira International Airport
Aeroporto da Madeira
Cristiano Ronaldo
Airport Approach Madeira 2015.jpg
Approach to Madeira Airport, view of the suspended half of the runway
Airport typePublic
OperatorANA - Aeroportos e Navegação Aérea, SA
ServesMadeira, Portugal
LocationSanta Cruz
Elevation AMSL58 m / 190 ft
Coordinates32°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 (2017)
Passengers change 16-17Increase7.4%
Aircraft movements26,645
Movements change 16-17Increase2.9%
Source: ANAC[2], Portuguese AIP

Madeira International Airport Cristiano Ronaldo, commonly known as Madeira Airport (Portuguese: Aeroporto da Madeira), or Funchal Airport (Aeroporto do Funchal) (IATA: FNC, ICAO: LPMA), is an international airport in the civil parish of Santa Cruz in the Portuguese archipelago and autonomous region 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, and is pivotal in the movement of cargo in and out of the archipelago of Madeira. It is the fourth busiest airport in Portugal. The airport is named after Madeiran football player Cristiano Ronaldo.

The airport is considered one of the most peculiarly perilous airports in the world[2] due to its location and its spectacular runway construction. It received the Outstanding Structure Award in 2004 by the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.[3][4][5][6] 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.[7] Pilots must undergo additional training to land at the airport.[8]


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,[9] the decision was made to extend the existing runway, instead of building a new one. The runway was extended to 1,800 metres, with the inauguration of the extension occurring on 1 February 1986 by the then President of the Portuguese Republic António Ramalho Eanes. In the meantime, a brand new terminal was built at the airport in 1973, handling 500,000 passengers.

However, as demand for tourism continued to grow, the runway had to be extended further. The newly extended runway - now 2781 metres in length - 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.[10] Although this was a rare event, some TAP Air Portugal flights currently make scheduled stops at Madeira with Airbus A330-200 widebody aircraft on the Lisbon-Caracas-Lisbon route.

Name change[edit]

In 2016, it was announced that the airport would be renamed Madeira International Airport Cristiano Ronaldo (Aeroporto Internacional da Madeira Cristiano Ronaldo) in honour of Madeira native football player Cristiano Ronaldo.[11][12][13] The unveiling of the rebranded terminal took place on 29 March 2017, with a bust of him also being presented.[14] Neither the bust nor the name change were unanimous, actually far from a consensus, as the former was ridiculed by Saturday Night Live's character Cecilia Giminez portrayed by comedian and actress Kate McKinnon,[15] with the latter being subject to much debate and controversy locally by politicians and citizens who even started a petition against the move.[16][17] A year later, sports website Bleacher Report commissioned sculptor Emanuel Santos to create another bust.[18] However this bust was never used, instead a new one was made by a Spanish sculptor, shown to the public on 15 June 2018.[19]


Madeira Airport Runway
View of the airport from Machico
Partial view of the airport's main building
Main check-in desks hall
Under the airport runway
Other view of under the airport runway which is crossed by the main road of the Island


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 Air Portugal Flight 425 crash of 1977.

In 2000, the runway was again extended this time to 2,781 m (9,124 ft). 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,[20] which aims at recognizing the most remarkable, innovative, creative or otherwise stimulating structure completed within the last few years.[21][22][23]


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.


In 2016, Madeira Airport was modernised and renovated by its operator, ANA Aeroportos de Portugal, as part of an €11 million investment. The renovated terminal area, which was opened in June 2016, by the President of the Autonomous Regional Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, ameliorated the existing 'operational facilities' and facilitated the creation of a brand new shopping area - all in all, doubling the capacity of the airport as a single entity.

According to VINCI Airports, the airport will now "have the capacity to deal with up to 1,400 passengers per hour", and the airport's overall new layout has been designed to enable to accommodation of new stores for national and international brands alike.[24]

The passenger screening area, under the command of Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, increased from 650m² to 1,500m² accommodating an increase of the number of security screening lines, while the passenger holding and verification area also increased from 300m^2 to 650m^2. The new adopted layout has overall simplified passenger experience, creating defined areas for Schengen Area - which the Autonomous Region of Madeira is part of - and non-Schengen Area passengers, and given the airport operator the ability to alternate these areas based on flight schedules. A brand new transfer hall, and 3 new departure gates were also created as part of the project.[25]

Furthermore, the renovation and investment project also accommodated the strengthening and re-profiling of the runway and taxiways, increasing the area usable by in excess of 1,500 m².

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Aigle Azur Paris–Orly
Air Europa Bilbao, Madrid[26]
ASL Airlines France Montpellier, Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Vienna
Azores Airlines Ponta Delgada
Binter Canarias Las Palmas, Porto Santo
British Airways London–Gatwick
Brussels Airlines Brussels
Condor Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig/Halle, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart
Corendon Airlines Seasonal: Amsterdam
Danish Air Transport Charter: Aarhus[27]
easyJet Bristol, Lisbon, London–Gatwick, Manchester, Porto
easyJet Switzerland Basel/Mulhouse, Geneva
Edelweiss Air Zürich
Enter Air Seasonal charter: Gdańsk, Katowice, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Poznań
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
Germania Bremen, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Erfurt/Weimar, Hamburg, Nuremberg, Münster/Osnabrück
Seasonal: Berlin-Tegel[28]
Iberia Seasonal: Madrid
Iberia Regional Seasonal: Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Santiago de Compostela Belfast–International, Birmingham,[29] East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, London–Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Seasonal: Munich
Luxair Luxembourg
Neos Milan–Malpensa
Norwegian Air Shuttle Seasonal: Copenhagen, Oslo–Gardermoen Stockholm
Novair Seasonal charter: Gothenburg,[30] Oslo, Stockholm
Scandinavian Airlines Seasonal: Stockholm–Arlanda
Small Planet Airlines Seasonal: Vilnius
SmartWings Seasonal: Lyon, Prague
TAP Air Portugal Lisbon, Porto
Thomas Cook Airlines Seasonal: Manchester
Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia Seasonal: Copenhagen, Helsinki
Transavia Amsterdam
Transavia France Lyon, Nantes, Porto
Seasonal: Paris–Orly
Travel Service Airlines Charter: Prague, Strasbourg
Travel Service Polska Seasonal charter: Katowice, Warsaw–Chopin[31]
TUI Airways Birmingham, London–Gatwick, Manchester
Seasonal: East Midlands, London–Luton
TUI fly Belgium Brussels
TUI fly Deutschland Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Cologne/Bonn, Frankfurt, Hanover, Munich, Stuttgart
TUI fly Netherlands Seasonal: Amsterdam
Ukraine International Airlines Seasonal charter: Kiev–Boryspil
Volotea Bordeaux, Marseille
Charter: Nantes, Beauvais, Clermont–Ferrand, Perpignan
Vueling Seasonal: Barcelona


Swiftair Lisbon


Busiest routes from Madeira Airport (2010)[32]
Rank Country City Passengers Carriers
1  Portugal Lisbon 865,994 EasyJet, TAP Air Portugal
2  United Kingdom London 227,096 British Airways, EasyJet,, Norwegian Air Shuttle, TAP Air Portugal, Thomas Cook Airlines, TUI Airways
3  Portugal Porto 218,992 TAP Air Portugal, Transavia
4  United Kingdom Manchester 59,367 EasyJet,, Thomas Cook Airlines, TUI Airways
5  Portugal Porto Santo 47,684 Aero Vip
6  Netherlands Amsterdam 44,270 TUI Airlines Netherlands, 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

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 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.[33]
  • On 19 November 1977, TAP Air Portugal Flight 425, 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.[34]
  • 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.[35]


  1. ^ "Statistics" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-08-25.
  2. ^ "The world's scariest airport landings: videos". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. 18 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Funchal Airport Extension, Madeira Island, Portugal". Archived from the original on 28 May 2014.
  4. ^ Inc., Advanced Solutions International,. "OStrA". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  5. ^ "The Outstanding Structure Award". Archived from the original on 27 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Outstanding Structure Award".
  7. ^ The Most Extreme Airports (video). The History Channel. 26 August 2010.
  8. ^ "Madeira Special Approach Familiarization (Traditional Classroom & Simulator) - FlightSafety International". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Welcome -". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Old Memories – 747 in Madeira – Rui Sousa, Looking through the glass".
  11. ^ "Madeira airport to be named after Cristiano Ronaldo". FourFourTwo. FourFourTwo. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Madeira airport renamed after Cristiano Ronaldo". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Nome do Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo cria mal-estar entre governos do Funchal e Lisboa". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  14. ^ Berenguer, Márcio. "Nome do Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo cria mal-estar entre governos do Funchal e Lisboa". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  15. ^ Saturday Night Live (9 April 2017). "Weekend Update: Cecilia Gimenez on Cristiano Ronaldo Bust - SNL". Retrieved 15 June 2018 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ "Madeira airport preparing to be renamed after Cristiano Ronaldo". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Cristiano Ronaldo airport rename critics slammed by Madeira president". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Ronaldo statue: Sculptor Emanuel Santos takes another shot at bust". BBC News. 30 March 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  19. ^ "Aeroporto da Madeira tem novo busto de Cristiano Ronaldo". Diário de Notícias Madeira. 17 June 2018. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  20. ^ "Funchal Airport Extension, Madeira Island, Portugal". Archived from the original on 28 May 2014.
  21. ^ Inc., Advanced Solutions International,. "OStrA". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  22. ^ "The Outstanding Structure Award". Archived from the original on 27 February 2012.
  23. ^ "Outstanding Structure Award".
  24. ^ "VINCI Airports - Madeira Airport invests €11 million in its new shopping galleria". Retrieved 2017-08-25.
  25. ^ "Madeira International Airport Modernisation, Madeira Island - Airport Technology". 17 June 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Voos regulares e charters para a ilha da Madeira". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  27. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "STRONG SUMMER OF GROWTH AT AARHUS TRIGGERS NEW SPANISH ROUTE FOR 2017 :: Routesonline". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Germania - Book cheap flights -". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  29. ^ 2017, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Jet2 plans Birmingham – Funchal Oct 2017 launch". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  30. ^ "Only Flight".
  31. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Travel Services outlines S18 737 MAX 8 routes for Poland / Slovakia". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  32. ^ [1][dead link]
  33. ^ EC-BID at the Aviation Safety Network
  34. ^ CS-TBR at the Aviation Safety Network
  35. ^ HB-ICK at the Aviation Safety Network

External links[edit]

Media related to Madeira Airport at Wikimedia Commons