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Faro Airport to be named after pioneering Portuguese aviator


António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal, and Nicolas Notebaert, CEO of VINCI Concessions and president of VINCI Airports, today gathered at Faro Airport to celebrate the centenary of Gago Coutinho’s aerial crossing of the South Atlantic.

The event was held in the presence of Portugal’s Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, as well as the Portuguese Chiefs of Staff, mayors and politicians from the Algarve region.

A Portuguese admiral born in the Algarve, Gago Coutinho was the first aviator to successfully fly across the South Atlantic in 1922, linking Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro (8300 km).

Faro Airport will be named in his honour, underlining the importance of openness to the world in Portugal’s history.

Notebaert also used the occasion as an opportunity to announce the commissioning of the new solar power plant at Faro Airport.

With a capacity of 3MWp, it will enable VINCI Airports to produce 30% of the airport’s electricity needs, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 1,500 tonnes per year.

The first airport solar power plant in the country, it was financed, developed, built and is operated by VINCI Airports through its photovoltaic subsidiary SunMind.

This initiative is part of VINCI Airports’ global decarbonisation programme, which aims to achieve Zero Net Emissions by 2030 at airports in Portugal and the European Union – and 2050 at the latest for all its airports worldwide.

In terms of traffic recovery, Faro Airport recovered about 90% of its 2019 traffic in the first half of the year, thanks to new services opened in recent months, notably with London Gatwick and Nantes Atlantique airports, also operated by VINCI Airports – a dynamic that illustrates the recovery of tourism in Portugal, backbone of the country’s economy.

Notebaert said: “VINCI Airports’ excellent relationship with the Portuguese authorities has enabled us to make the country’s airports ever more efficient and better connected, for the benefit of citizens, passengers and regions.

“As we celebrate the centenary of the South Atlantic air crossing, Portugal continues to write its history as a very attractive destination and a country that innovates for more sustainable mobility.

“We are very proud to be part of this new momentum by opening the solar power plant at Faro Airport and rebuilding the country’s connectivity.”

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