Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Under the volcano Mixed volcanic ash and lava flows complicated both the design and construction of piles for the extension of Funchal airport on the Atlantic island of Madeira.

Funchal airport occupies just about the only substantial area of flat land on the Portuguese-owned volcanic island of Madeira, some 700km off the north west African coast. The airport sits on a raised plateau, nearly 60m above the adjacent sea. The existing 1,800m long runway stretches right across this plateau with the ground dropping away alarmingly at either end. By modern standards the runway is short, which restricts the size of aeroplanes that provide the main link with Portugal ...

Subscribe for full online access and get...

  • Full, instant access to all stories
  • Customised email alerts straight to your inbox
  • Monthly print magazine

Register for guest access to keep reading and get..

  • A free taste of other selected news stories
  • Daily email newsletters


Already have a subscription or ICE membership? or