Ultimate Airports: Funchal


The Portuguese autonomous region of Madeira is 400 miles west of the African coast of Morocco and 105 miles (165km) northwest of the Spanish Canary Islands.

Comprising five main land masses, the largest is Madeira Island, covering 309sq miles (801km²). The islands are served by two gateways, the larger being Funchal/Cristiano Ronaldo and the other Porto Santo, situated on the island of the same name, which predominantly hosts seasonal flights. It is the former which is known for its windy approaches as seen by millions through viral videos.

The airfield’s runway extension is often described as looking like a bridge.

The facility’s 9,124ft (2,781m) Runway 05/23 has the Atlantic on one side and 6,000ft (1,829m) mountains on the other, which generate tricky winds on the approach. The landing strip was originally extended following the crash of a TAP Air Portugal Boeing 727-200, CS-TBR (c/n 20972), in November 1977. The latest expansion took place in 2000 and is built on a series of pillars laid into the cliff, looking rather like a bridge.

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