Faro Airport (Portuguese: Aeroporto Internacional de Faro, IATA: FAO, ICAO: LPFR), is located four kilometres (two nautical miles) west of Faro in Portugal. The airport opened in July 1965. Nine million passengers used Faro airport in 2019. The airport became a hub for the first time in March 2010, when Ryanair decided to base seven of its aircraft there. It is very busy from March to October, to the extent that it becomes a slot-coordinated airport.In June 2022 it was announced that Aeroporto Internacional de Faro will officially change its name to Gago Coutinho Airport in honour of the navigator and admiral who, in 1922, together with the aviator Sacadura Cabral, made the First aerial crossing of the South Atlantic in the seaplane “Lusitânia”.
Faro International Airport is located 4 km 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. The Portuguese Government was the owner of Faro airport until the 2010s when Vinci Group became its owner. The national airport authority ANA Aeroportos de Portugal has been its operator. Along with the airports in Lisbon, Porto, Ponta Delgada, Santa Maria, Horta, Flores, Madeira, and Porto Santo, the airport's concessions to provide support to civil aviation were conceded to ANA Aeroportos de Portugal on 18 December 1998, under provisions of decree 404/98. With this concession, ANA became responsible for the planning, development and construction of future infrastructure.Since its opening in 1966 to the 2000s, Faro airport has had two major developments: the new passenger terminal building in 1989, and its enlargement in 2001. Faced with growing traffic demand and passenger safety and satisfaction needs, the development plan for 2009–2013 saw Faro airport undergo extensive improvements to runway and infrastructure, as well as a widespread renovation of the airport terminal and commercial areas. The airport authority announced an expansion programme for Faro airport in February 2010. Phase I of the expansion started in 2010 and was completed by 2011. Phase II began in 2011 and was completed by 2013. Faro International Airport handled 5,447,200 passengers and recorded 39,789 aircraft movements in 2008. When the Phase II expansion was completed, the annual capacity of the airport increased from six million to eight million passengers. Passengers handled per hour increased to 3,000, the number of aircraft handled per hour increased to 30, and aircraft parking bays increased from 22 to 33. Additional shops and waiting areas were constructed as part of the expansion. In Phase I, new aircraft stands and taxiways were planned to be constructed. A new instrument landing system (ILS) was installed at the runway along with the installation of a glide reflection mirror. The security area at the runway was also expanded. Phase II involved the renovation of the passenger terminal and the improvement of the landside access.As of 2019, Faro Airport is capable of handling nine million passengers a year. There are 22 stands of which 16 are remote, with 60 check-in desks and 36 boarding gates.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines operate regular scheduled direct passenger flights at Faro Airport:
The airport is close to the A22 highway, with connections throughout the Algarve and direct to Lisbon and Spain. Faro airport has 3 different car parking areas. The closest parking area is called "Parking P0 / P1 – Classic", used for short-term visitors, while parking areas P2 and P3 are used for longer term car storage.Kiss and Fly is the name for a form of fast parking at the airport.
Airport bus routes 14 and 16 run each day between Faro Airport and Faro city centre bus station. From the bus station there are connections to most other Portuguese cities as well as to many Spanish destinations. The airport bus route is currently run by a company called "Proximo".
The nearest railway station is Faro which is about 5.7 kilometres (3.5 mi) away and is located close to Faro city centre bus station. A study into a rail link to the airport was undertaken in 2018.
Public taxis are available from the airport and operate 24/7.
Ride hailing companies' services are widely available in the area.
There are all major car rental companies, in the arrivals area, that can provide car hire service from the Airport.
In 2012, Airports Council International gave Faro Airport the title of Best Improvement in Europe.
Accidents and incidents
On 21 December 1992, Martinair Flight 495 sustained a hard landing in bad weather at Faro Airport, killing 54 passengers and two crew out of a total of 340 people on board.
On 24 October 2011, an overnight storm collapsed portions of terminal roofs and blew out most windows in the control tower. Four people were slightly injured, one severely.