MIAMI – A common experience at Portugal’s Madeira Airport (FNC), strong crosswinds and gusts await pilots flying into FNC this afternoon. The airport has seen several aircraft establish holds for hours to attempt a landing.
The airport – aka Cristiano Ronaldo International, Funchal, or Saint Catherine Airport – is considered one of the most unusually dangerous airports globally due to its location and striking runway construction.
Some have attempted to land but resorted to performing a Go-Around. Ultimately, many of these flights have diverted to nearby islands while some have flown all the way back to their original destination.
An Airbus A320-214 (OE-IJS), regular service from Porto (OPO) to Funchal completed a mammoth 10 holds for over an hour. The winds were beyond limitations for the aircraft to attempt a landing. Eventually, the aircraft made a two-hour return trip all the way back to Porto.
Operated by a Boeing 737-8K2 (F-GZHU), another summer service between Porto and Funchal held over for 30 min. With no luck in commencing an approach, the aircraft diverted to a nearby airport of Porto Santo (PXO).
Operated by an A320-214 from Lisbon (LIS) to Funchal had an eventful day of flying. Initially, the aircraft held for 40mins and then attempted a landing that resulted in a go-around back to the original hold. After some time it made another attempt and this time the aircraft touched down at FUN, one of the few today to make it.
Funchal airport has always been one of the most challenging airports to land at due to its extreme crosswind and gust that drifts the aircraft significantly off its lateral profile. The runway itself sits on the edge of the landmass with a steep hill on one side and the sea on the other.
Many more aircraft are on their way to FNC, some have already diverted and others are trying to land – an interesting day for all these pilots.
Featured image: Madeira Airport via Google Maps