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Faro Plans For Expansion

24th April 2009: Property News in the Algarve

A recent press conference announced that Faro Airport is to benefit from a €130 million investment to expand and also to improve its existing facilities.

The project will be divided into two phases and as a whole will cover three key areas; capacity (traffic and passengers), safety, and modernisation. Completion is scheduled for 2013.

Phase one, which will commence next month and is hoped to be finished by 2011, will target the expansion and remodelling of operational areas, creating more aircraft stands, taxiways, and installing an Instrument Landing System (ILS) as well as installing a Glide Reflection mirror and expanding the security area at the end of runway.

Predicted to start in 2011 and be complete by 2013, Phase two will give priority to revamping the passenger terminal and improving landside access.

Overall, the project aims to increase runway traffic from 22 to 30 take-offs and landings per hour, create 11 new parking aprons that will accommodate various sizes of aircraft, including wide-body types, and expand the infrastructure’s current processing capacity from 2,400 to 3,000 passengers per hour.

This will see a rise in the annual processing of passengers from its maximum capacity of six million to eight million. At present, annual passenger figures sit at around 5.5 million. The expansion was based on the need to cope with a growing travel demand in the region as well as accommodate the change in passenger profiles since the airport’s inauguration in 1965.

Since its inauguration 44 years ago passengers travelling through Faro have changed significantly, as has the type of carrier.

Once dedicated to charter airlines and their passengers, who were, generally, transported to and from the airport by coach, the infrastructure now deals with a majority (70 per cent) of scheduled and low-cost airlines and their passengers, who have specific requirements, their own vehicles, shorter turn-around times, and tighter deadlines.

Therefore, according to airport director, António Correia Mendes, the terminal must be modernised to accommodate the varying types of passengers that now use its services. To achieve this desired improvement, the consortium responsible for the project enlisted the expertise of renowned architects Chapman Taylor, who designed Heathrow’s now functional Terminal 5.

According to the airport director, Faro terminal’s design will be based on uncluttered spaces, clean lines and floods of natural light.

Minister Lino summed up the viability of the significant investment and its bold project in times of economic instability by concluding, “It shows we are not terrified by the crisis, blinded by lack of ideas, or paralysed by the future”. Meanwhile, looking ahead to spring, the airport is bracing for an unprecedented number of flights between the Algarve capital and London.

Travellers between the two venues can look forward to hourly flights, following easyJet’s move to increase daily flights to Faro to five, coupled with Aer Lingus’ route twice daily between Faro and Gatwick which will commence on April 26.

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