Faro Airport, airport code FAO, provides service to the community of Faro, Portugal and surrounding area. The airport is located on the southern coast of the country and provides not only permanently scheduled flights to many destinations, but seasonal summer flights for beach holiday travelers destined for the Algarve Coast. The airport should not be confused with Faro Airport located in the Yukon Territory of Canada, which provides only general aviation services and doesn’t have any nearby beaches.
History of the Airport
The airport originally began operations in 1966 and has seen major upgrades twice along with numerous minor modifications throughout its history. Faro Airport has a stated capacity of 6 million passengers per year with more than 5.5 million users passing through its gates currently. The airport does see some delays and passenger pressure during its peak summer months but has a more sedate passenger flow the rest of the year.
Faro Airport Terminals
Passengers at Faro Airport utilize a single terminal, which handles both domestic and international flights. The terminal offers about 60 check-in counters serving about 35 boarding gates. The terminal area is slated for further upgrades in the near future.
The terminal utilizes some high-tech solutions to the old baggage problem. The intelligent robotic porter system utilizes a combination of lasers and sensors to follow the passenger while carrying baggage, people, or other items. The system also can provide video feeds from around the airport to security staff as part of the airport surveillance program.
Weather issues have posed a problem for the terminal in the past. In 2009 and again in 2011, weather caused damage to the building delaying some flights and causing some passengers to miss flights that did depart. The 2011 incident caused five injuries at the terminal.
Aircraft utilizing Faro Airport have access to a single 2,500 meter or 8,000 foot runway. This runway has a maximum capacity of a Boeing 747 sized aircraft but is equipped with lights and an instrument landing system. This runway handles about 40,000 take offs or landings each year. The airport operates 24-hours per day during the peak season of April through October and from 7 a.m. to midnight local time the rest of the year. The airport imposes no noise restrictions on departing or arriving aircraft.
Future expansion at the airport includes more aircraft parking positions and changes in runway and taxiway configurations. The additional taxiways will allow aircraft to clear the flight area quicker and are intended to boost the rated capacity at the airport to one takeoff or landing every two minutes. This also increase the number of passengers the airport can handle to 3,000 people per hour or about 8 million passengers per year.
Parking at the Airport
As a tourist destination airport, parking is not a major concern at Faro Airport. Still, the facility offers three parking areas for short and long-term parking and includes a vehicle fuel provider on the grounds for those returning rental cars. The closest car park areas to the terminal are the most expensive but the shortest walk to the boarding area. The airport does not have a shuttle service between the parking areas and the terminal.