Faro International Airport is located 4km from Faro, the capital city of Algarve in Portugal. Situated in the southern coast of Portugal, the airport was constructed during the 1960s and inaugurated in 1965. It handled 5,447,200 passengers and recorded 39,789 aircraft movements in 2008.

O estado nacional de Portugal owns Faro airport. The national airport authority ANA Aeroportos de Portugal is the operator.

The airport authority announced an expansion programme for Faro airport in February 2010. Phase I of the expansion will start in March 2010 and is expected to be completed by 2011. Phase II is anticipated to begin in 2011 and completed by 2013.

Faro airport expansion

The airport expansion is divided into two phases – the first phase will expand the airport’s operational areas and the second phase will cover the terminal and access area expansion. The expansion focuses on improving three aspects of the airport: capacity, safety and modernisation.

“Faro International Airport handled 5,447,200 passengers and recorded 39,789 aircraft movements in 2008.”

Once the expansion is completed, the annual capacity of the airport will increase from six million to eight million passengers. Passengers handled per hour will increase to 3,000, the number of aircraft handled per hour will increase to 30, and aircraft parking bays are planned to increase from 22 to 33. Additional shops and waiting areas will be constructed as part of the expansion.

In Phase I, new aircraft stands and taxiways are planned to be constructed. A new instrument landing system (ILS) will be installed at the runway along with the installation of a glide reflection mirror. The security area at the runway is also planned to be expanded. Phase II will involve the renovation of the passenger terminal and improving the landside access.

Airport expansion contractors

The architect selected for the expansion project is Chapman Taylor Architects. Work is scheduled to start on 1 March 2010 and expected to be completed by the end of 2013. An estimated €130m has been invested in the expansion.

Faro airport terminal features

The airport features one passenger terminal and one cargo terminal. The passenger terminal can handle 22 aircraft and 2,400 passengers per hour. It is a two-floor building and houses the check-in desks and arrivals area on the ground floor. In addition, it is equipped with double mutual-load airbridges.

The terminal features a total of 63 check-in desks. The cargo terminal at the airport houses a warehouse measuring 750m² (8,072ft²).

“The airport expansion will increase the number of passengers handled per hour to 3,000.”

Several restaurants and food outlets are present at the airport. Duty-free shopping and other shopping destinations are available. Conference and business facilities include a conference room with a capacity of 65 people, which features a TV and video player.

A bureau de change, post office, banks, ATMs and a lost property facility are located in the passenger terminal. In addition, there are also other facilities such as information desks, a tourist information desk, travel agencies, etc., situated inside the terminal building of the airport.

Facilities for people requiring assistance, including wheelchairs, elevators and reserved parking spaces, are also available.

Portugal airport runway

The airport’s runway (28-10) is 2,490m long and 45m wide. The runway is categorised as ICAO CAT 4E. The maximum size of aircraft that can be accommodated is B747. Lighting at the airport is provided by high-intensity runway lights (HIRL). Fire protection is provided in the form of fire CAT 8 equipment.

Automatic shuttle system

An automatic shuttle system capable of moving people from one place to another inside the airport was tested at Faro airport on 17 December 2009.

“An automatic shuttle system was tested at Faro airport in 2009.”

The system, known as an intelligent robotic porter system (IRPS), is equipped with laser sensors and 3D vision, which detect people’s movements and obstacles.

The robot, designed to work in interior locations, is capable of transporting people, cargo and dangerous materials. The system can also be used for security purposes and video surveillance.

Faro airport parking facilities

There are three parking lots at the airport – P1, P2 and P3. P1 is short-term car parking and can capacitate 292 cars. P2 is long-term parking and can accommodate 320 cars. P3 is a short and medium-stay parking with 386 spaces.