Expansion work at Faro Airport’s terminal building is now not due to be completed before July – four months ‘late’ in other words.
Without explaining what happened to the March deadline, Infrastructure and Planning minister Pedro Marques said that to make sure the €35 million investment is “worthwhile”, national airline TAP will be launching new flights between Lisbon and Faro “to make it easier for holidaymakers arriving in the capital to visit the Algarve”.
Marques made his announcement last Friday (January 20), saying the airport’s check-in area will reopen next month, despite the fact that the rest of the work is taking its time.
As reports explained at the outset, the airport’s expansion programme has been designed to cater for 30 airplane movements and 3,000 passengers per hour – as opposed to the current 24 and 2,400.
Another reason was the increasing number of low-cost airlines flying into Faro and bringing passengers who “tend to spend more time at the airport” due to flight delays and other hold-ups.
Marques stressed the revamp will make the terminal building “more spacious during summer, but also cosier during winter without looking devastatingly empty”.
The key to the project’s success is to ensure that the expansion serves a purpose, he told reporters, prompting passenger numbers to grow even further.
This is exactly why TAP is upping its number of weekly flights between Lisbon and Faro.
Said Marques: “We can do a much better job of directing holidaymakers (who arrive in Lisbon) to the Algarve”, adding that the number of international air links run by TAP has grown by “around 200%” – bringing new holidaymakers to Portugal from North America, Brazil and Asia.
Jorge Ponce de Leão, president of airports authority ANA, is also optimistic – saying that ANA has requested a study to evaluate the potential of “cycling and walking” as two activities that can be performed virtually 12 months a year in the Algarve, and which could be “fundamental” to the region’s goal of becoming a year-round holiday destination.
Photo: BRUNO FILIPE PIRES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP