Saturday 10 December 2016

Europe's 'most dangerous' airport renamed for Cristiano Ronaldo

Funchal's favourite son

Published 27/07/2016 | 02:00

Cristiano Ronaldo Airport, Madeira. Composite image using Funchal Airport (Deposit) and Ronaldo after Portugal's Euro 2016 victory (Getty).
Cristiano Ronaldo Airport, Madeira. Composite image using Funchal Airport (Deposit) and Ronaldo after Portugal's Euro 2016 victory (Getty).
Madeira: General view of the new 'Pestana CR7 Funchal' hotel owned by Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo poses next to a wax statue of himself during a visit to the CR7 museum at Funchal, Madeira. Photo: JOANA SOUSA/AFP/Getty Images
Dionisio Pestana, Cristiano Ronaldo and Miguel Albuquerque (President of the Regional Government of Madeira) during the opening of the new 'Pestana CR7 Funchal' Hotel owned by Ronaldo on July 22, 2016 in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images
Madeira: General view of the new Pestana CR7 Funchal' hotel owned by Cristiano Ronaldo in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images
Madeira's Funchal Airport, Portugal. Photo: Deposit
A plane struggles with crowsswinds before landing at Madeira Airport. Photo: YouTube/Ruptly.tv

One of the world's most 'most dangerous' airports has been renamed in honour of one of its most famous football players.

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So that's what you give the man who has everything.

Madeira International Airport, commonly cited as one of the world's most difficult (and scenic) landings due to its situation between mountains and sea, has been re-named 'Cristiano Ronaldo Airport' as a gift to the island's soccer superhero.

Ronaldo was born in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, in 1985.

The decision was announced by Miguel Albuquerque, President of the Regional Government of Madeira, as Ronaldo visited the capital of Funchal for the official opening of his first branded hotel, Pestana CR7, this month.

Ronaldo, still only 31, now has a statue, museum, hotel and airport bearing his likeness, name or brand on the Portuguese archipelago.

Cristiano Ronaldo poses next to a wax statue of himself during a visit to the CR7 museum at Funchal, Madeira. Photo: JOANA SOUSA/AFP/Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo poses next to a wax statue of himself during a visit to the CR7 museum at Funchal, Madeira. Photo: JOANA SOUSA/AFP/Getty Images

'Thanks Madiera,' the star tweeted afterwards, from a private jet.

Funchal's airport opened in 1964, with a runway as short as 1,600m. A TAP Boeing 727 overran the tarmac in 1977, killing 131 of the 164 people on board.

The most recent extension to the runway, in 2000, saw it lengthened by just over a kilometre using a platform built on 180 concrete pillars partly extending over the ocean.

A recent video posted by Ruptly TV, an international video news agency headquartered in Berlin, shows aircraft it says braved 49mph crosswinds to land (or pull out of landings) at "Europe's scariest" airport.

Several publications, ranging from Conde Nast Traveller to the Daily Telegraph, have described it in features as one of the world's "most dangerous" airports.

Ronaldo has been busy on and off the pitch in 2016 - opening the first of his hotels with the Pestana Group (future hotels are in the pipeline for New York, Madrid and Lisbon) and the CR7 Museum, as well as winning the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid and the Euro 2016 Championships with Portugal.

Wikipedia and Google have already changed the title of Madeira International to 'Cristiano Ronaldo Airport'. Its IATA code remains FNC, alas - not CR7.

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