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New Airport Runway in Portugal Part 3

January 17, 2008

By now most readers would have seen a few pictures from our story on The New Runway in Portugal, see link

The New Airport Runway in Portugal

.

Or if you have seen New Airport Runway in Portugal part 2 you would also realize that the Runway is in the city of Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

So lets have a look at a little background on the Airport and it’s new runway.

Funchal Airport was originally opened in 1964 and is infamous for it’s runway that is surrounded by high mountains on one side and the ocean on the other.

The combination of mountains and ocean, with the runway right in the middle means that the flow of air around the runway is unpredictable. (Air temperature varies over land compared to water, sometimes creating abnormal air currents).

Many pilots would attest to having trouble landing on the runway.

To make matters worse the runway was originally very short, so some pilots who had trouble getting their planes down in time onto the runway, were then stuck with the problem of running out of runway!

Video below shows a pilot aborting two attempts to land at Funchal.


Video: YouTube

In 1977 a TAP Air Portugal Flight struck problems landing at the airport and slid off the end of the runway. As a result of the accident 125 passengers of 156 on board died, 6 out of the 8 crew also lost their lives.

It was at the time the deadliest airplane accident in Portugal.

TAP Air Portugal stopped flying Boeing 727 series 200 to the airport after this accident, instead only allowing the smaller 727-100 to land there.

MANY MORE PICTURES, POST CONTINUES

So lets get back the problems with the runway, it is in between the ocean and a mountain and it’s too short. Not much can be done about the mountain or the ocean, but the runway could be made longer, only problem there is a bay of water where it needs to be lengthened.

Thats alright, they can reclaim the bay and extend the runway on top of huge concrete poles! And thats what they did as shown in the images below.

New Airport Runway in Portugal
Photo: Funchal Airport Extension (www.tensacciai.it)

New Airport Runway in Portugal
Photo: Funchal Airport Extension (www.tensacciai.it)

New Airport Runway in Portugal
Photo: Funchal Airport Extension (www.tensacciai.it)

New Airport Runway in Portugal
Photo: Funchal Airport Extension (www.tensacciai.it)

New Airport Runway in Portugal
Photo: Funchal Airport Extension (www.tensacciai.it)

New Airport Runway in Portugal
Photo: Funchal Airport (unknown origin)

New Airport Runway in Portugal
Photo: Funchal Airport (unknown origin)

New Airport Runway in Portugal
Photo: Miguel Nóbrega (Madeira Spotters) at Airliners.net

New Airport Runway in Portugal
Photo: Miguel Nóbrega (Madeira Spotters) at Airliners.net

New Airport Runway in Portugal
Photo: Franz bauer at www.pbase.com/bauer

New Airport Runway in Portugal
Photo: Franz bauer at www.pbase.com/bauer

Some Technical Details on the new Runway.

The extension was completed on September 15, 2000.

The total length of the runway is 2,781 metres. (approx 1000 metres of which is the new extension)

Width of Extension: 180 metres

Number of support poles: 180

Each support pole is 3 metres wide and 120 metres long, half of which is below sea level.

For the extension of the new runway the Funchal Airport has won the Outstanding Structures Award, given by International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE). The is considered to be the “Oscar” for engineering structures in Portugal.

Websites and Credits

Funchal Airport on Wikipedia

Funchal Airport extension at tensacciai.it

Franz Bauer photos

Franz Bauer Funchal Airport photos pbase.com/bauer/madeira_airport_funchal

Franz also has many more good photos at www.pbase.com/bauer

Miguel Nóbrega photos

Miguel Nóbrega at Airliners.net

Also see Madeira Spotters.net

Comments

9 Responses to “New Airport Runway in Portugal Part 3”

  1. New Airport Runway in Portugal Part 2 : Get A Look At This on March 22nd, 2008 8:51 am

    […] New Airport Runway in Portugal Part 3 : Get A Look At This on January 17th, 2008 10:43 pm […]

  2. madeira on May 5th, 2008 11:37 pm

    […] more comprehensive story on the madeira Airport runway at Funchal on the island of madeira http://www.getalookatthis.com/2008/01/17/new-airport-runway-in-portugal-part-3/ , OH – Official WebsiteOfficial site provides information about the government, […]

  3. Andy on May 14th, 2008 11:49 pm

    Link which is shown in item “Madeira on May5th, 2008 11.37PM”
    Portugalhttp://www.getalookatthis.com/2008/01/17/new-airport-runway-in-portugal-part-3/Madeira,

    does not work. Respectfully submitted. Andy

  4. Craig on May 15th, 2008 11:28 am

    Hi Andy

    Thanks for your help, we have fixed that link now

    Craig

  5. James Keeney on September 13th, 2008 9:18 am

    Too many visitors going to the island now that the airport has been extended. Original ‘flavour’ of the island has gone – there is a danger it will turn into another Benidorm – which is very sad. It was once such a beautiful island. I always thought landing at the original airport was quite a thrill!

  6. majayana on November 4th, 2008 7:16 pm

    amazing design

  7. gptc on January 20th, 2010 7:57 pm

    Could not see the images!!!

  8. LPMA freakazoide on April 4th, 2012 3:58 pm

    Despite whats written in the text above, neither the runway or the airport are in the city of Funchal. In fact to access there you have to take the motorway VR1. The closest cities to the airport are Santa Cruz and Machico. The airport was fomerly known as “Funchal Airport” but now is called “Madeira Airport”. (LPMA)
    Some stuburn airports insist on maintaining the “Funchal” on theire departures and arrivals boards but in fact it should be “Madeira” Like in many islands across the world the Airport assumed the name of the island and not the name of the capital city or the main city even because sometimest those are kms away from the airport and the airport serves the intire island and not a city.

  9. konstantinos foskolos on December 6th, 2013 10:32 pm

    Could anyone please tell me what is the total width of the runway?
    Thanks

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