ANAC will be holding the briefing at the Algarve Tourism Board’s headquarters in Faro, on 1 April at 2.30pm to address “a number of complaints relating to the alleged aircraft flying over the Albufeira area”.
According to ANAC, the session will be attended by their experts as well as technicians from ANA - Airports of Portugal and NAV Portugal airspace operators, and aims to “elucidate those interested in the operation of the aircraft that take off and land from Faro Airport”.
ANAC’s Board of Directors said it “invites all interested citizens to participate in this clarification session, in order to listen and clarify the community on this matter”.
The controversy dates back to at least December 2017, when an anonymous group of citizens began sending email complaints to NAV, the company that manages air traffic in Portugal, and to the Faro Airport Control Tower, to demand the interdiction of commercial flights over Albufeira’s Old Town centre.
According to reports, “this happens when Faro Airport’s runway 10 is in operation, although the aircraft, when in final approach, before landing, fly over the city at a considerable altitude of between 3000 and 4000 feet, or more and therefore should be almost imperceptible”, newspaper Barlavento writes.
In one of several protest emails seen by Barlavento, the complainant said: “This morning I was woken up at 7.30am by a plane flying low. I have (…) earplugs in my ears”.
Other arguments published on Facebook complain that “kerosene destroys our old houses, churches and museums and poisons our lungs”.
The solution, according to the ‘No Aircraft over Albufeira’s Historic Centre’ initiative, is that the routes on approach to Faro be diverted to a corridor over the sea, keeping at least two kilometres’ distance parallel to Peneco beach.