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A translation from the Diario.

The Association of Portuguese Airline Pilots (APPLA) today defended the closure of the runways at Madeira International Airport whenever the winds exceed the maximum limits imposed for the aerial operation.

In statements to the Lusa news agency, the president of APPLA maintains that Madeira airport “should not remain open when wind limits are above the maximum allowed to operate on the runways”, a situation Miguel Silveira says he “does not understand”.

The official added that keeping the airport open for navigation in these circumstances “is an invitation not to comply with the wind limitations”.

According to data Lusa had access to, about 20 commercial flights landed in the first quarter of this year 2017, in the recently named Cristiano Ronaldo Airport with winds above the maximum limits established by the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC), thus violating the restrictions imposed by the regulator National aviation industry.

Asked by Lusa, ANAC confirmed that it has received the reports of these landings, which are being analysed.

“Obviously there are limits to anything in aviation. These limits generally exist for several reasons, including safety issues, and of course they must be respected, said the president of APPLA.

However, Miguel Silveira pointed out that it cannot be said that security is necessarily due to not respecting the limits: “There is no direct correlation.”

“In air travel and in the profession of airline pilot, if there are limits, they are to be respected. And I make a warning and an appeal to the pilots so that where there are these limits, notwithstanding the right and duty that the commander always has that he must exceed the limits for reasons of safety and must then explain to the authority because he has exceeded the limits, As a rule, if the limits are there, they must be respected, “said the pilot-in-command.

The president of APPLA considers that keeping Madeira’s airport operational with winds outside the established limits is to heading towards an eventual error.

Whenever a pilot lands outside the established limits, in this case due to the wind, it is up to the air traffic controllers to inform the National Civil Aviation Authority for the regulator to analyse the situation..

Miguel Silveira reiterated, however, that Madeira airport “has an enviable security record”, revealing that ANA, a private company that manages national airports, has recently called for “lifting the limitations” imposed.

The president of APPLA maintains that the limitations “cannot be lifted overnight,” because it will not be known if the airport is becoming more or less safe.