Madeira Airport is the gateway to one of the oldest tourist destinations in Europe. The airport has long been an engine for tourism and economic development on the island. Its passenger traffic grew by 7.6% in 2013 to reach 2.4 million, and a further increase to 2.5 million is forecast in 2014.
Located between the towns of Santa Cruz and Machico, the island’s capital – Funchal – is just a 15-minute drive from Madeira Airport. The island itself is known as the ‘Pearl of the Atlantic’ and among its most famous attractions is the Laurissilva forest – a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site.
A key piece of infrastructure that has allowed Madeira to continue its role facilitating tourism is its award-winning runway, built on a platform supported by 180 columns, and extending partly out over the ocean. The 2,800m runway can handle aircraft up to the 747-400.
43 airlines operate a total of 77 routes from Madeira, and with 44% of total traffic, Portugal is its main market, followed by the UK with 18.6% of traffic, and Germany with 12%. “These are the most important tourist markets for Madeira and the ones where the Madeira Promotion Bureau makes a significant investment in marketing campaigns,” commented Silvia Dias, Aviation Marketing Manager, Madeira Airport.
The airport works closely with the regional tourism authorities, partnering with Madeira Promotion Bureau to promote the island to its main markets and jointly participating in aviation and tourism events. Madeira Airport is also a member of the board of Madeira Promotion Bureau. Alongside this, the airport’s strategy also includes attractive incentive support schemes for airlines and tour operators, when opening new routes or increasing frequencies.
A marketing campaign was launched in January promoting Madeira as an all year round holiday destination, initially to the UK and German markets. Indeed, among the most recent new routes are weekly Germania services from both Erfurt and Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden to Madeira, which were launched on 25 February.
The 50th anniversary will be marked with special events throughout the year for passengers and the local community. The highlight will be a formal dinner that will take place at the airport on 15 September. Meanwhile, a Museum Centre is to be opened at the airport, which will tell its story over the past 50 years of operation.
Looking forward, Madeira Airport is hosting the 7th ACI EUROPE Regional Airports’ Conference and Exhibition in May, and reports that this is a very important part of its 50th anniversary celebrations. “We are very pleased to welcome this event, as it is a great opportunity to raise Madeira’s awareness as a high quality tourist destination. Madeira has a repeat visitors rate of over 30%, which means our guests are very pleased with our island! The ACI EUROPE event will surely contribute to increasing this figure,” concluded Dias.
ACI EUROPE’s Regional Airports’ Conference & Exhibition will take place from 12 to 14 May 2014. For more information, visit www.aci-europe-rac.com