Madeira Airport (FNC)
History, Facts and Overview
(Santa Cruz, Madeira Islands, Portugal)
With such a rich maritime history, Funchal's harbour was greatly developed and used during the 1800s and early 1900s. However, in 1921, a new age of aviation dawned, although it was not until the mid-1950s that a runway was constructed in the Santa Catarina area, next to the coastline for easy access and strategically close to Funchal
In the early 1960s, this simple airfield was developed further and Madeira Airport officially came into existence in July of 1964 and featured a runway of around 1,600 metres / 5,250 feet, opening a door to this small island. In the early 1970s, it was clear that the airport was not large enough and so expansion plans were considered, and in 1973, a new terminal was opened, with a yearly capacity of 500,000 passengers.
By the time that the new millennium arrived, Madeira Airport's runway had been extended to 2,800 metres / 9,185 feet by reclaiming land from a sea, forming a stone platform. It was at this stage that the airport received the World Award of Structural Engineering for excellence. In 2002, Madeira Airport (FNC) opened its new passenger terminal, complete for 40 check-in desks and 16 boarding gates.
Terminal facilities include several cashpoints and a banking branch, along with a tour operator and further amenities. Retail and duty-free outlets are available on the ground floor and first floor at Madeira Airport, selling everything from perfumes and sunglasses, to embroidery and Portuguese handicrafts. Particularly popular with airport passengers is the Aldeasa duty-free outlet, the Madeira Wine Company, Sun Planet and the Relay Tabacarias store.
Restaurants, cafés and bars are also on hand and most open between the hours of 07:30 to 23:30. For a quick bite, the Quiosque Delta Café and the Café do Aeroporto are a good bet, while for a more substantial meal, visit the restaurant on the third floor. Two VIP rooms are available and travellers can connect to the Internet from several fixed locations, while there is also a Wi-Fi connection.