Descobrir Porto santo – OLD

Inaugurated on August 28 of 1960, Porto Santo Airport, first of the Madeira archipelago (IATA code: PXO, code ICAO: LPPS) is a Portuguese airport located on the island of Porto Santo, parish and municipality of Porto Santo, in the Archipelago of Madeira. The Airport with a capacity of more than one million passengers per year has a runway with 3006m (9862 ft), whose orientation is 18-36.

In 2016 it received about 130 thousand passengers.

Relevant information:
Runways: 18 / 36;
Coordinates:  33° 04′ 15″ N 16° 20′ 59″ O;
Measures: 3,006 m × 45 m (9,8462 ft × 148 ft);
Type of pavement: Asphalt;
Altitude: 104 m (341 ft);
App System: VOR & NDB

Military Maneuver Airport of NATO and the Portuguese Army

History of Maneuver Aerodrome Nº 3 (AM3) Porto Santo

As a tributary of an extensive and valuable historical heritage, the current Maneuver Aerodrome No. 3, has is origins in the old NATO Infrastructure, which, although it had started in 1974, only began to have its own staff from July 1st, 1977.  Throughout this date, it remained the faithful depository of the vast array of aeronautical infrastructures meanwhile implemented in the scope of projects elected by NATO.

In 1959, Allied Command Atlantic, established the requirements for the Maritime Patrol Air Operations in the Southern Ibero-Atlantic Area (“IBERLANT”) and elected the Madeira Archipelago (due to its strategic location) as the ideal location for an aerodrome to support this type of air operations. Thus, the existing runway in Porto Santo had made available to NATO for this purpose.

In 1968, a series of works began in order to prolong, repair and recharge of the existing runway, illumination and increase the capacity of electricity supply, storage of ammunition, construction of the command and administration building, construction of the fuel area and pipelines and the installation of transmitters and receivers to support communications with aircraft. These works were finalised in 1974.

In November 1977, they started to support the Air Detachment of Madeira, which meantime had been, permanently constituted, with a parking space for a C212 AVIOCAR at the Santa Catarina Airport.

This aircraft remained stationed at that airport until the end of 1989, being definitively, transferred to Porto Santo on December 31st of 1990, joining a SA-330 PUMA helicopter.

Continuing with a number of investment plans intended for this NATO Infrastructure, in early 1982, work were carried out, among other works they started on the expansion of the runway and the construction of 10 dispersion plates for aircraft parking in the north area. So called the military area of Porto Santo.

Since 1994, as a result, of the international situation and the changes that have taken place in NATO, the support and maintenance of the existing human and logistical resources became a National responsibility at the time having constituted and hitherto designated as Air Force Detachment in Porto Santo.

In March 2006 the SA-330 PUMA stationed at the Porto Santo aerodrome was replaced by the EH-101 MERLIN. At the time, DAM has at its disposal this aircraft and the C-212 AVIOCAR. As a result, of Ordinance 62/2009 of November 20th of General CEMFA, on 25NOV2009, Maneuver Aerodrome No. 3 was activated. Through the ordinance 93/2010 it was assigned the National Standard for Maneuver Aerodrome No. 3. On November 05th of 2010, the C-212 Aviocar was replaced by the C-295 passing the DAM to be constituted by this aircraft and the EH-101 MERLIN.

Operating Companies

About Porto Santo

Porto Santo is the smaller of the inhabited islands of the Madeira Archipelago. It lies in the Atlantic Ocean, at the South-western tip of Europe, about 500 km from the coast of Africa and 1000 km from Continental Europe. It takes around 1hr 30 min to fly from Lisbon to Porto Santo Island. Porto Santo has 5,483 inhabitants (2011) and has a population density of 129.07 inhab./Km² (NSI – National Statistics Institute, 2011).

First discovered back in 1418, by Portuguese sailors, this archipelago is formed by the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo as well as the uninhabited Selvagens and Desertas Islands.

A golden isle, washed by turquoise sea and where peace and quiet reign supreme, is all you need for a truly relaxing holiday. This Atlantic island boasts 9 km fine golden sands ideal for sunbathing and swimming. Health and wellness go hand in hand on this magnificent beach as, in addition to its crystalline waters, its sands have rare therapeutic properties. The sand is soft, fine and smooth and consists mainly of calcium carbonate in the form of calcite, which has special thermal qualities.

Vila Baleira can tell stories and legends of the distant and recent past, in fact a visit to the Christopher Columbus Museum will allow you to get to know the house in which he once lived.

The safety, along with the warm welcome of its locals, the pleasures that nature has to offer, the beautiful beaches of fine sand, and the calm sea currents, turn Porto Santo island into a privileged location amongst other similar destinations.

The main industry on the island of Porto Santo is tourism, based on the attractive beach and mild climate.

Geography and Geology

Porto Santo is the second largest island of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. This Portuguese municipality has 42.48 km² and its capital is the city of Vila Baleira.

Despite its proximity, this island differs greatly from Madeira. The soil is quite sandy and very poor in nutrients. It is a very flat island with a 9-km long beautiful sandy beach. The therapeutic qualities of its sand help treat orthopaedic and rheumatic problems, drawing many people to the island every year. The seawater rich in calcium, iodine and magnesium, ideal to recover from lack of minerals caused by stress and fatigue, is one of the reasons that make this destination so unique.

The north part of the Porto Santo has some peaks, and with an altitude of 517 metres, Pico do Facho is the island’s highest peak.


Porto Santo’s climate is dry and stable; its temperature does not vary much between seasons and it is possible to go to the beach all year round. The beach is bathed by a sea of calm and crystal clear waters.

In the summer months, the average sea water temperature is mild, between 24 ºC and 25 ºC, as in the late spring and early autumn. For the remaining seasons of the year when the water temperature is pleasant, there is variation from one to two degrees cooler than in summer.


Madeira Regional Tourism Board (2017). Visit Porto Santo. Retrieved april 21, 2017, from

Portuguese Air Force (2017). Maneuver Aerodrome nº3 (AM3) Porto Santo. Retrieved april 21, 2017, from