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Madeira Airport

Madeira Funchal Airport
Aeroporto da Madeira
Airport type Public
Operator Aeroportos da Madeira
Location Santa Catarina, Santa Cruz
Elevation AMSL 192 ft / 59 m
Coordinates 32°41′52″N 16°46′28″W / 32.69778°N 16.77444°W / 32.69778; -16.77444Coordinates: 32°41′52″N 16°46′28″W / 32.69778°N 16.77444°W / 32.69778; -16.77444
Direction Length Surface
ft m
05/23 9,110 2,781 Asphalt
Statistics (2009)
Aircraft Movements 21,955
Passengers 2,346,649
Source: Portuguese AIP at EUROCONTROL

Madeira Airport (IATA: FNC, ICAO: LPMA), (informally known as Funchal Airport, and formerly known as Santa Catarina Airport), is an international airport located near Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. The airport controls national and international air traffic of the island of Madeira. It was first opened on 18 July 1964 with two 1,600m runways.

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. The original runway was only 1600 metres in length, but was extended by 200 metres 8 years after the TAP Portugal Flight TP425 incident of 1977 and subsequently rebuilt in 2000, almost doubling the size of the runway, building it out over the ocean. Instead of using landfill, the extension was built on a series of 180 columns, each being about 70m tall. This airport is also considered the Kai Tak of Europe because of its singular approach to runway 05. For the enlargement of the new runway the Funchal Airport has won the Outstanding Structures Award, given by International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE). The Outstanding Structures Award is considered to be the "Oscar" for engineering structures worldwide. The History Channel program Most Extreme Airports, ranks it as the 9th most dangerous airport in the world.


Madeira Airport was officially opened on 18 July 1964. The first flight ever to land here was a TAP Air Portugal Lockheed Constellation with 80 passengers on board.

In 1972, the popularity of visiting the island of Madeira increases, so the runway had to be extended, as modern larger aircraft could not land on it. Decisions had to be carried out to find out where the best place for a runway would be, and they decided that the area where the short runway was, was the best place to extend it, so they had to somehow extend the runway. In the meantime, a brand new terminal was built at the airport in 1973, handling 500,000 passengers.

Between 1982 and 1986, Madeira's runway was successfully extended to total 1,800m, and also four gates were opened.

In 2000, the runway had once again been extended, and it opened on 15 September.


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

Many low-cost airlines have entered the Madeiran market
Many low-cost airlines have entered the Madeiran market

TAP Portugal Airbus A319 on the tarmac in Funchal
TAP Portugal Airbus A319 on the tarmac in Funchal

View of the airport from Machico.
View of the airport from Machico.

Note: denotes charter airlines and their destinations.

Airlines Destinations
Aigle Azur Paris-Orly
Air Berlin Berlin-Tegel, Bremen, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Hamburg [seasonal], Leipzig/Halle [seasonal], Munich, Nuremberg, Zürich
Arkefly Amsterdam [seasonal]
Portuguese Airlines Vienna [seasonal]
Portuguese operated by Lauda Air Vienna [seasonal]
Binter Canarias Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tenerife [seasonal]
Cimber Sterling Copenhagen
Condor Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Stuttgart
EasyJet Bristol, Lisbon, London-Gatwick, London-Stansted
Europe Airpost Montpellier, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Finnair Helsinki [seasonal]
Hamburg International Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Iberia operated by Air Nostrum Bilbao [seasonal], Valencia [seasonal] Manchester, Leeds/Bradford [begins 14 February 2011]
Jetairfly Brussels [seasonal]
Luxair Luxembourg
Niki Vienna [seasonal]
Neos Milan/Malpensa
Palmair Bournemouth
SATA Air Açores Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Porto Santo, Tenerife-South
SATA International Copenhagen, Dublin, Lisbon, Madrid [seasonal], Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Ponta Delgada, Porto, Stockholm-Arlanda [seasonal], Zürich
SBA Airlines Caracas
TAP Portugal Caracas, Lisbon, London-Gatwick, Porto
TAP operated by Portugália Lisbon
Thomas Cook Airlines Glasgow-International [seasonal], London-Gatwick [seasonal], Manchester
Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium Brussels
Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia Billund, Copenhagen, Helsinki [all seasonal]
Thomson Airways Birmingham, Bournemouth [seasonal], Exeter, Glasgow-International, London-Gatwick, London-Luton [seasonal], Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne [seasonal]
Transavia Amsterdam
Transavia France Paris-Orly, Porto, Nantes
Travel Service Prague
TUIfly Basel/Mulhouse, Cologne/Bonn, Frankfurt, Hanover, Stuttgart [all seasonal]

Incidents and Accidents

  • On 5 March 1973, an Aviaco Sud Caravelle 10R (Registration EC-BID) crashed into the sea during 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, of which 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 crashing 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, a Sud Caravelle 10R (Registration HB-ICK) was cleared for approach on runway 06 (Now runway 05), but descended below 720 ft causing the aircraft to crash into the sea. 36 people died out of the 57 on board.

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General Info
Country Portugal
Time UTC 0(+1DT)
Latitude 32.697889
32° 41' 52.40" N
Longitude -16.774453
016° 46' 28.03" W
Elevation 192 feet
59 meters
Type Civil
Magnetic Variation 006° W (01/06)
Beacon Yes
Alternate Name FUNCHAL
Island Group Madeira I
Operating Hours 24 HOUR OPERATIONS
International Clearance Status Airport of Entry
Daylight Saving Time Last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October

TWR 118.35
(279.05 Mil)
ATIS 124.4
APP 119.2
(279.05 Mil)

ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
05/23 9110 x 148 feet
2777 x 45 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
VOR-DME SNT PORTO SANTO 096X 114.9 9.9 NM 230.5
NDB PST PORTO SANTO - 338 9.9 NM 223.6

Fuel Jet A1, without icing nhibitor.

100/130 MIL Spec, low lead, aviation gasoline (BLUE)

CAUTION Severe turb when wind is 15 Kt (or possibly less) btn 300 and 020 . Downdrafts or updrafts are to be expected near thld of Rwys 05 and 23. When landing on Rwy 23 fr S and W sctrs, exp severe turb at lo alt over rwy thld. With westerly winds, tall windshears may be expected. Due to hi terrain no deviation to lt of apch path in ldg Rwy 05, immed lt turn aft tkof fr Rwy 23. Str-in apch not auth fr FUN DVOR to Rwy 23. Bird haz.
FUEL (NC-100LL, A1)
LGT PAPI Rwy 05 MEHT 57', PAPI Rwy 23 MEHT 57'.
MISC Ngt ldg only for pilots familiar with daytime opr.
RSTD PPR for all arr and dep acft.

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