Riding the waves

Funchal Airport on the Atlantic island of Madeira is frequently rated among the ten most challenging in the world. Renato Serra Fonseca found that passengers need not be concerned, as much has been done behind the scenes to ensure flights are as safe as possible.



The Portuguese autonomous region of Madeira comprises five islands – Madeira, Porto Santo, Deserta Grande, Ilhéu Chão and Bugio – around 400 miles (650km) west of the African mainland. The archipelago is home to some 300,000 residents (only Madeira and Porto Santo are inhabited), although the numbers swell vastly during the summer when tourists flock to the island’s resorts. It’s also a haven for fauna and flora and an area for production of famous local fortified wine, while Laurissilva Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Madeira is the second-richest region of Portugal by GDP per capita, surpassed only by the capital, Lisbon.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below