Airport solutions……………

Solutions to airport problems

Thanks to Maurice for suggesting the obvious solution to any problems at the airport in the “Comments” to the previous post – the re-introduction of the flying boats that used to land in Funchal Bay!

Flying boat in Funchal Bay

Obviously nobody can “fix” the weather, and equally it is unlikely that safety restrictions will be loosened to allow planes to land in stronger winds. But equally you have to accept that  cancellations inevitably discourage potential visitors to an island that relies almost exclusively on them. The second possible outcome, which has already been mooted by regional politicians, is that airlines will be less inclined to fly here if their schedules and finances are adversely impacted by the chaos that ensues from the airport being out of action.
What is required to allay these fears is a “Plan B” in the event of the closure of Madeira airport to reassure both visitors and airline operators that there is a chance of arriving at their destination. The only feasible one has been promoted here before and, at the risk of overdoing it, is repeated again: Increase the capacity at Porto Santo airport by constructing additional stands and adding more tarmac – easily and cheaply done. Use the Porto Santo ferry to move passengers from Porto Santo to Madeira, possibly docking at Canical to allow coaches to take over and allowing the ferry to return more quickly for the next trip.
In 90% of the instances when Madeira airport is closed by cross-winds from the mountains, Porto Santo remains open due to its flat topography, just 50 km away.

Porto Santo airport

By the way Madeira airport is working perfectly this morning, without a breath of wind. More than 40 arrivals are scheduled for today after yesterdays cancellations, which affected 27 flights and 4,000 passengers.

11 thoughts on “Airport solutions……………”

  1. Draw back no flying boats. and time it would take arriving from your country to Madeira. Some one may put me right the flight attitude would not allow aircraft to fly over the worst weather.

  2. The second option seems to be the perfect solution for Madeira (and Porto Santo).
    Hotel owners should combine their forces and present this to Madeiran parliament (because if you leave it up to the politicians, nothing will happen for a long time, if ever!).

  3. Seriously folks, I WAS joking when I suggested flying boats. They only carried a few pax anyway!

    Anyway, the recent grotty weather seems to be over at last. Normal service is returned(whatever normal is).

  4. How long would it take between Porto Santo and Canical. Presumably the ferry would not have a problem docking there, but you would have to build some sort of passenger facility.

  5. I agree with the observation about nothing will happen if left to the politicians and I assume the hotel lobby is going to have to put pressure on them if anything is to have the slightest chance of being done. I’m not so sure however if works were to get the go ahead that they would end up being “cheap”. The continued saga of the never returning ferry to the mainland is another point to think about.

  6. I think improving Porto Santo would be a fantastic alternative, if the ferry was faster and more regular. I love coming to Madeira but I find the landing terrifying, especially the flying low past the runway and then turning into the wind. Last time I came we were in a holding pattern for half an hour and then landed, but it was very scary, our pilot got a round of applause!

    • Landing is easy now, I remember the old runway which was half the length of the current one. Landing on that little bit of tarmac really was hair-raising!

  7. The Porto Santo option would also stop people being confined to the plane upon being diverted to Porto Santo – an idea that I find quite unappealing – and I guess I am not alone with this phobia.

  8. Please do not suggest shipping air passengers from Porto Santo to Madeira by ferry. We have done the crossing in calm seas and would not enjoy a trip in rough seas with high winds. We have been delayed twice by high winds at the airport in recent years – it’s all part of the Madeiran adventure.


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