Saint Johns, Newfoundland, Canada to Horta, Azores, Portugal

11 to 13 May 2006

Hassle with Portuguese red tape


Logbook index

Over an early breakfast, Flemming checked the Jeppesen airport directory for the Azores and the CAP555 UK AIS clearance manual which listed Horta as an 'Airport of Entry' but with a PPR 24 hours restriction (prior permission required). We departed with the flight plan for Ponta Delgada which we had filed the evening before, but with the hope of getting permission to change destination to Horta in flight.
Horta lies about half way between Flores and Ponta Delgada, so we called Horta to airport to enquire whether we could get customs approval for Horta in spite of less than 24 hour prior notice. They told us we would need to speak to Immigration in Horta first and gave us a number to call. There was no reply from that number so we resolved to try again while in flight with the Iridium phone.
It was a stressful foggy departure (visibility 1/8 mile, vertical visibility 100 feet, temperature/dewpoint 0/0 °C), but we were out in the sunshine at 1500 feet. It was blue skies above and overcast below for several hours, giving Angela the happy illusion that we could have been flying over land. Nice tailwinds of 25 knots for the second half of the flight. A few rain showers the last hour.
Once in flight, we tried to call Immigration in Horta again with the iridium. Still no luck getting through. Perhaps we had been given the wrong number? Angela called Operations at Horta airport again and got a different number this time that worked. She understood from the immigration official in Horta that it would be OK to land there. So we called up Santa Maria oceanic centre with the Iridium phone and changed destination from Ponta Delgada to Horta.

After 7:36 hours, we arrived in Horta, took our luggage out of the plane, locked it up and walked over to the airport office. There we were told that there had been a misunderstanding as only INAC (Civil Aviation) and not Immigration can issue the permit to use Horta as airport of entry.
After about an hour of heated discussion over the phone, two immigration officials came to the airport. Finally, they rather reluctantly authorized us to stay the night in Horta (by this time the airport was closed anyhow!) and we took a taxi to the Pousada de Santa Cruz by the port.

12 May. Horta, Faial Island, Azores. While Horta is listed as an 'Airport of Entry' in both the Jeppesen airport directory and the CAP555 UK AIS clearance manual, the Portuguese authorities claim that it is not an airport of entry, although the AIP Portugal says 'Customs and Immigration: On request, min. 24 hr.'.
So instead of requesting this through Immigration in Horta, we should have applied to INAC, Lisbon for permission. After explaining our case to Mrs. Maria da Conceição Amaral at INAC and discussions between the airport, the immigration authorities and INAC, by early afternoon we were finally allowed to stay in Horta for as long as we liked!!
Much relieved, we went for a pleasant 3-hour walk in the hills around Horta.


The IFR approach to runway 10 was followed by circling for runway 28

Short final runway 28

It is a tradition for transatlantic yachties to make a painting on the harbour walls in Horta at every visit

We looked in vain for the painting from Guillermo Gabriel Villa's visit with 'Gandul' (see Puerto Madryn)

Flemming admired the nice selection of transatlantic yachts (next project?)

An old anchor near our Pousada de Santa Cruz

Setting off for our walk from Horta

View of Horta during our walk on Faial

On the way back to Horta

Cool when the sun went in

View of Pico from Pousada de Santa Cruz

The charming yacht marina in Horta

JAlbum 6.5 Copyright: Angela & Flemming PEDERSEN