Hot weather continues. TAP offers.

Republic Day

Republic Day holiday monumentThe hot weather is set to continue into today’s “Republic Day” public holiday. Temperatures could reach 30 degrees according to the Portuguese Met Office, IPMA.
The October 5th holiday commemorates the establishment of the first republic in 1910 after the overthrow of the House of Braganca. This is one of the four public holidays that were suspended in 2011 as part of the austerity measures – initially they were to remain suspended until 2019, but were re-introduced in 2016.

TAP lost flight offers as wind abates

TAP logoThe Diario reports that TAP has announced that all passengers on journeys scheduled for the recent days when adverse weather conditions once again affected Madeira Airport “could change their flights, on the same route and within the same class of reservation, at no additional cost , with a new date until one week after the dates affected. In case of cancelled flights where passengers do not wish to reschedule the trip, TAP will also issue a voucher for use on later flights.
As conditions hopefully stabalise today at the airport,TAP have reprogrammed their operation to the region, replacing their normal planes with ones with greater capacity to make the trips planned for today, in order to be able to transport all that were affected by the winds in recent days. It has done  so by using two A330 fleet planes to perform two extra flights, as well as three A321s (instead of A320s) and one A320s (instead of A319s).

22 thoughts on “Hot weather continues. TAP offers.”

  1. One of today’s Finnish “evening” papers have details of what happened to the passengers of the Monday Finnair flight. This is a case study in what not to do.

    The Monday flight from Helsinki didn’t land at Funchal because of the winds and tried for Tenerife. (Unclear whether it landed there or not – the article is confused on the point – one part says 2 intermediate landings; another says not enough fuel for Tenerife). It then landed in Porto Santo for re-fueling and then flew back to Lisbon arriving around midnight.

    (Here it is uncertain whether passengers were found accomodation that Tuesday early morning or not – one person said forced to stay at the airport; another said went to a hotel)

    A second attempt was made on Tuesday afternoon. Again landed in Porto Santo for refueling and back to Lisbon early morning Wednesday.

    (Maybe that was the night when passengers were forced to stay at the airport)

    Finnair then sent out a new crew and they were supposed to be making a new attempt to fly to Madeira (and land!) on Thursday. I.e. no attempt made on Wednesday despite passengers still waiting.

    If that succeeds they will have spent three extra days on the way and will have flown Helsinki-Funchal-Porto Santo-Lisbon; Lisbon-Porto Santo-Lisbon and Lisbon-Funchal (all once).

    As the most informative passenger in the article said, “why didn’t they take us with the ferry from Porto Santo to Madeira”.

    [My lesson from this is to pack in hand luggage essentials for a couple of days and to insist on getting off the plane in Porto Santo – if necessary without main luggage – then then get the boat ourselves even it has gone for the day. I shall also now contact the travel company and ask then why they didn’t transfer passengers from the plane to the ferry once in Porto Santo.]

  2. Poor passengers Mike! Good advice re taking essentials with you in hand luggage so you can just jump off in Porto Santo.

    Personally I think there is a future in these situations in planes landing on Porto Santo and then the ferry taking passengers not to Funchal, but to Canical for coaching to Funchal. The ferry could then (more quickly) return to PS and repeat the procedure.

  3. A few years back I posted an April Fools post about them closing Santa Cruz airport because so many days disruption each year. Flights would all go through Porto Santo instead, some people fell for it.

    It might come true one day…………

  4. On 30 September, you proudly reported that Madeira is “the best European island destination”; but yet again there are stories of flights being disrupted by windy weather.

    If Madeira wants to keep the tourism business, then something must be done. People cannot be expected to sleep on airport floors or to lose days of their lives through airline uncertainty.

    I wonder if anyone has thought of building a new airport, say on the high plateau at Paùl da Serra. It’s not far from the VE4 motorway, so Funchal is within reach. I don’t know how much of this land is protected.

  5. Carlos, a super fast ferry could do the trip from Porto Santo to Canical in under an hour and would seem a very sensible proposal. Porto Santo airport should also be expanded to accommodate more planes holding up there.

  6. Just checked – the distance from the dock at Vila Baleira on Porto Santo to Canical is 52km, whilst the distance to Funchal is 71km – so there would be a real time and cost saving there.Presumably less fuss docking in Canical – but then I am assuming that the port there could accommodate the ferry?

    • I’ve been trying in Google Maps without success to find out the distance between the airport in Santo Porto and the ferry station. Any idea?

      (Problem is that there is no ferry on Tuesday so as we fly in on Mon we need (if winds at Funchal) to get to the ferry from the S.P. airport by 18:00 (which is easy if they give up after one attempt and then fly direct to S.P. but otherwise …))

  7. Peter Bill, when they first mooted the idea of an airport Paul da Serra was considered. Big problem, there would be fewer flying days that with the current airport. To top of the island is often shrouded in cloud. Every time I have crossed it there has been cloud like thick fog at some point. Also, you’ll have noticed that there is a wind farm up there. It’s windy up there, hence the wind farm. In other words, Paul da Serra would be hopeless as an airport.

  8. Mike Walsh, It seems to be aprox. 1 km from the Porto Santo airport terminal building to the port where the ferry leaves for Funchal.
    According to a retired wing commander seated next to me on my last flight to FNC, the runway in Porto Santo was built by Nato. It is straight north-south, compared to the FNC which is more diagonal east north-east towards west-south west. The runway in Porto Santo is actually longer than the FNC!
    Thank you for the good advice about the hand luggage content. I guess this advice goes as well for the departing traveller in Madeira.

    • Thanks Kathy. Good to know that the transfer shouldn’t take too long.

      It’s a new idea for me that it might also be a good idea to think carefully about hand luggage for the return trip. My assumption was that that isn’t the same problem because you are just stuck in Madeira until the winds go down rather than having the possibility of spending an unknown time in Tenerife; Grand Canaria; Porto Santo; or Lisbon on the way to Madeira. (So you would be easily able to collect your main luggage after the plane doesn’t take off / leave from Funchal.)

  9. Isn’t there a case building for a second ferry? Am I naive to think that the long-considered putative one Lisbon/Madeira could be re-considered for Porto Santo/Funchal etc?

  10. I believe that the distance between the airport and ferry terminal on Porto Santo is more like 5 kilometres Kathy. Still worth exploring this option as more airlines would be interested, and fares presumably cheaper, if they were 100 percent sure they could land? It cannot make sense to be having to put passengers in hotels overnight on a regular basis.

  11. Slim: you were right. The distance is 3,5 km according to Google Maps. They say you make the trip in ten minutes by car from the Porto Santo terminal building to the port where the ferry leaves. I managed to find the port east of Vila Baleira.

  12. I am not sure the island realises that it is totally reliant on tourism. If there are more years with as many cancelled flights as this, the airlines will not bother. The expense of a diverted flight must be enormous.

  13. Some further information regarding why so few flights earlier in the week diverted to Ports Santo – there are only six stands available at Porto Santo airport. My wife and I were due to arrive in Funchal last Monday evening, but eventually arrived on Wednesday evening, having spent Monday evening in Faro, and Tuesday evening in Fuertaventura. We couldn’t fault Jet2 staff at all – they were excellent, and incidentally the information regarding stands at Porto Santo came from the Captain of our flight from Newcastle – so it must be right !!

  14. Surely it would be (relatively) cheap to construct another dozen stands on Porto Santo (loads of flat land adjacent to the runway) and set up the ferry to run to Canical when required. Remove the uncertainty which will be in visitors minds when they are considering coming here, and settle question marks with airline schedule planners when they pick their destinations. easyJet have just withdrawn their Edinburgh flight in winter simply because they can’t afford a plane to go missing for three days whilst it tries to get passengers onto the island.

  15. To conclude my story.

    Finnair finally replied to my question on – if they re-fueled at Porto Santo – whether I would be allowed to leave the plane with only cabin luggage. Answer after stonewallung and me in the end giving them Yes, No, Maybe options was Maybe. No comments on whose decision that would be.

    The travel company said it would be up to Finnair but I should inform their Madeiran office if I had got off. (Probably based on ground transport from airport where they count bodies in the bus, but wrong because I chose not to pay for that transfer)

  16. Another letter in the Daily Mail today regarding the treatment of EasyJet passengers last week at Madeira Airport They say that whilst Jet2 Tui and Saga issued their passengers with food and drinks vouchers and hotel accommodation whilst they had no contact with EasyJet but they were eventually told the earliest replacement flight to Gatwick was 10 days time and to Manchester a fortnight and if they wanted to change their flight they would have to pay for it themselves. They do say that with help from kind airport staff they found them a seat on a Thomson flight the following day. It seems you do get what you pay for when there is a problem.


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