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Dangerous Runway at Faro??

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Dangerous Runway at Faro??

Old 11th Oct 2002, 15:37
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Dangerous Runway at Faro??

From The News Portuguese English language newspaper
The Faro International Airport, say aviation experts, should be closed immediately in order to undergo emergency renovation work. Furthermore, these experts state the airport runway is damaged to such an extent, that it no longer offers the necessary safety conditions for the number of aircraft which touchdown in the Algarve capital every day.

Only months after airline pilots started questioning the state of the Faro Airport runway, officials from ANA (Airports of Portugal), have reiterated earlier concerns, adding that urgent action needs to be taken.

The team of ANA experts inspected the airport on September 24 and 26, and immediately called for emergency work to commence on the runway.

However, a report published by ANA in May, praised the airport, awarding it a quality certificate.

But the September report, extracts of which were first published by newspaper Público, states: “The state of degradation on some stretches of the runway has reached serious proportions, and they no longer permit sporadic renovation work. In addition, the coming winter is bound to deteriorate the already bad state of the runway even further”.

A civil aviation expert, after reading the document, whose comments were printed in the daily, further condemned the airport: “I believe the most sensible solution will be to close the Faro Airport for works”.

Lu's Goldschmidt, chief of ANA’s External Relations Department, meanwhile contradicted these claims, saying the Faro Airport offered no risks to planes landing there. He did however add that the last occasion extensive work was done on the runway was in 1991, and that a new layer will be placed over the runway by the end of the year.

Despite these scathing reports, it should be noted that Faro is widely considered as being one of the safest airports in the world. Since its inauguration almost 40 years ago, only one accident, due to freak weather conditions, has been recorded at the airport.

Is it really that bad?
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Old 11th Oct 2002, 16:23
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Hard to tell from the cockpit. Don't know to be
honest. I've seen worse runways. Especially
Greece. And don't forget African airports but that's
stating the obvious.
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Old 11th Oct 2002, 16:35
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Apart from occasional dodgy ATC, Faro is one of the better holiday destination airports. Clear approaches, decent length runway, fairly efffective ground handling.

Reading the newspaper story, looks like the editor couldn't make up his mind whether he wanted to portray it as a good airport or bad airport.
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Old 11th Oct 2002, 22:19
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Operated there many times and have found few problems...and the ATC ain't all that bad either...cleared direct to the 10 mile fix seems to work.
Ground handling seemed to be quite OK, at least for us fewer delays than (for example) MAN.
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Old 12th Oct 2002, 00:25
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from a pilots point of veiw I cant say that I have found much wrong with Faro and the runway is in a better state than a few greek airports that I could think of.

However I,m not a civil engineer and the runway may be giving way from underneath and I would not know about it , perhaps its time for the real experts on this subject to comment.
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Old 12th Oct 2002, 02:19
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Faro "dangerous"? Huh? Sounds like the media are tipping back some high-octane home-brew before writing ...but we all know sensationalism sells....sigh...

The worst thing I found about Faro was operating into the low sun, but that happens twice a day at every east-west runway - no fault of Faro's! (Albeit a non-precision approach)

Good turns there. Polite handlers, fuelers, etc...

(Of course there may be legit reasons for the media story - all my comments are my opinion. Anyone from Aeroporto de Faro or the Portugal Civil Aviation Authority care to comment?)

~Ray Darr

< edit: fixed a typo >

Last edited by Ray Darr; 12th Oct 2002 at 02:28.
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Old 12th Oct 2002, 12:43
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Faro has nthing wrong with it. Very nice field with generally helpful staff;


The Greeks really don't seem to realise that with all the money tourism brings in they should spend a bit on the very thing that enables them, especially on the Islands, to get the tourists there in the first place.

To mention Corfu runway state would not be unfair; it's DREADFUL.

And as for Samos............ But that's more an air safety issue and a potential whole new thread........
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Old 12th Oct 2002, 16:06
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Not sure we all agree that Faro has nothing wrong with it. Too many of us have had to give up and divert to Seville after fruitless holding when the weather has been less than gorgeous sunshine.

Even after all the recent runway approach area works, they still don't have the precison ILS approach working. In less-than-good weather we have to bumble along in our huge lumbering jets guided by a VOR, working out when and how much to descend and turn. That's just as bad as most of Greece. Not that VOR approaches are beyond us, specially with all the super kit in the modern jets, but the realistically higher minima mean that when the visibility goes down we have to go round and divert. Seem to remember one of the approaches requires about 2000 metres visibility, and that isn't always available in early autumn mornings. Either way, non-precision approaches are not as easy or safe as precision ones, and it is time this was sorted.

Then there is the controller overload problem. It doesn't take long, with Saturday traffic holding for cloud-break instrument approaches, for the approach controller to become out of his depth. They do a brilliant job, but when there are just too many aircraft with all-too-similar callsigns and a foreign language (english) to boot, you can end up on 119.4 knowing he meant you but calling you someone else. Dangerous.

Actually, it doesn't take long even on a sunny Saturday for the approach sequencing to get out of hand. The 10 runway has no rapid exits. Worse, there is a big rubbery patch just in front of the left-angle penultimate exit, where everyone has been braking furiously to try to get off the runway in time for the next guy - even NOTAMed as being slippery when wet .. Go-arounds for runway occupancy are not unknown.

Let's not hide the unpleasant bits, even if it usually is a delight to go there and run in for rw10 with that brilliant view of Millionaires' Row beach from Vilamoura into Faro on finals.
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Old 12th Oct 2002, 17:50
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Definitely a delight to go there......beautiful approaches, helpful, mannerly, professional ATC, good handling - haven't noticed any problems with the runway surface though the terminal improvements are first class - great new airbridges with double arms - you can get the jetway on the L1 and L2 doors on the B757!

ATC can be busy, an ATIS woud be a help, but I noticed on a couple of Saturday afternoons back in August they were trialing a new Ground frequency on 118.025 which would aid Tower on 118.2 but obviously not alleviate any conjestion on Approach 119.4. As has been mentioned clearance direct to the centre fix seems to work very well and is often given upon hand over from Lisboa!

The new procedure not permitting arrivals from or departures to the UK (and other northern European countries) to route via Minta is a pity - used to be handy to avoid some congestion and delay. Never mind!

The lack of an ILS is noteworthy, but hopefully this will be operational before long - even in the summer that fog can still roll in off the sea - often just a thin layer but below minimums

Hopefully if there are any problems with the runway they can be resolved through some night closures....

....in the meanwhile keep enjoying those approaches - I prefer 28 myself - that lovely run along the coast past the Ria Formosa Natural Park and over the city. Nice!
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Old 12th Oct 2002, 19:36
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errrrrrr. rather go there than greece, turkey, bjl.... the list goes on.

Place is fine.
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