26 flights cancelled
The Diario reports that the strong winds yesterday caused a total of 26 flights to be cancelled at Madeira airport. Once again we have first-hand experience of passengers swearing that, whilst the love the island, they will not return. Some regular visitors were on their second such experience in just five months. Ironically Miguel Albuquerque, President of the Regional Government, was unable to travel to Porto Santo to attend the Porto Santo Day ceremonies.
To quote directly from a previous post earlier this year there is a partial solution to a problem that is not going to go away:
Obviously nobody can “fix” the weather, and equally it is unlikely that safety restrictions will be loosened to allow planes to land in stronger winds. But equally you have to accept that cancellations inevitably discourage potential visitors to an island that relies almost exclusively on them. The second possible outcome, which has already been mooted by regional politicians, is that airlines will be less inclined to fly here if their schedules and finances are adversely impacted by the chaos that ensues from the airport being out of action.
What is required to allay these fears is a “Plan B” in the event of the closure of Madeira airport to reassure both visitors and airline operators that there is a chance of arriving at their destination. The only feasible one has been promoted here before and, at the risk of overdoing it, is repeated again: Increase the capacity at Porto Santo airport by constructing additional stands and adding more tarmac – easily and cheaply done. Use the Porto Santo ferry to move passengers from Porto Santo to Madeira, possibly docking at Canical to allow coaches to take over and allowing the ferry to return more quickly for the next trip.
In 90% of the instances when Madeira airport is closed by cross-winds from the mountains, Porto Santo remains open due to its flat topography, just 50 km away.
This morning (Wednesday) everything seems to be coming and going at the airport on schedule.
Please be patient as a major overhaul of the blog is implemented and the website could misbehave occasionally. This is not from choice, but is required in order to remain compatible with WordPress, which has been used here for approaching ten years. A huge upgrade to this software, due to be released shortly, has enforced changes in order to maintain search engine results. As a first step the layout has changed to two-column instead of three, meaning that a number of links have moved to the right and the bottom of each page.