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STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

The world's first elevated runway opens tomorrow at Madeira's Funchal Airport. The £300M expansion will enable the airport to accommodate Boeing 747s and when the new terminal complex is completed in 2002 will double its capacity to 3.5M passengers per year.

The new runway extends from the original - itself cantilevered over the bay from the neck of the peninsula - across the bay to the next peninsula, adding nearly 1km to give it a new length of 2.8km. Consultant Mott MacDonald formed part of the project management consortium led by Consulgal of Portugal. Construction work was carried out by a group comprising Zagope, Andrade Gutierrez Spie Batignolles and OPCA.

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