My company has secured 18 slots in LIS airport and brought 3 Airbus A321 Neo to fill the gap. Which means they will need more flight deck and cabin crew. I received an offer via email during summer to transfer to Lisbon in November 2023. Lisbon is bigger city of course, bigger base, a more interesting network to operate from and also, better terms and conditions; I said yes. My adventure to Faro was coming to an end, about 2 more months of flying there before the base closes (it is a seasonal base). This base was amazing! Great people, always with a smile, a good mentality. A base that I will never forget.
So now it was time to move again and so I needed to find an apartment in Lisbon, which is not easy from what I’ve heard. And now that I’m settled I can confirm it, it is ridiculously hard to find something in this city. There are not that many offers, way more demand and thus the prices are really high. People are queuing to visit an apartment, and it is more or less like a job interview. Anyway I’ve decided to share an apartment again so we could save some money and after months of struggling we found something. Let’s be honest it is not as nice as Faro but it will do the job!
The city is super nice, beautiful and clean, people seem kind and the weather is quite good normally! I said normally because November and December was raining almost every day, which is supposed to be unusual. Again, not Faro but way better than Porto!
Towards the end of October I had a schedule change (while I was still based in Faro) and they needed me to operate an early flight from Lisbon to Madrid and back. The flight was supposed to leave LIS at 7am but my flight from FAO to LIS was leaving at 6am, so of course we will be delayed! Landed in LIS and you can see the difference with Faro as it’s a bigger airport and my first feeling was: what a mess! Planes parked everywhere, some still on long-term parked due to Covid, taxiways looked complex and so on. Joined the crew (all based here in Lisbon) and went directly to the aircraft as we were late. I’ve been told LIS airport is congested and slots are frequent; lucky us, no slot for departure. Madrid was my first time as well and it is a MASSIVE airport that can be quite tricky on the ground! In the end it was an easy 2 short sectors day, 50-55 minutes flight time. That was my first experience out of LIS airport. Back to Faro the day after and a few more flight to go before the base closes and I move to Lisbon.
November will be a calm month for me as I have some holidays, basically I’ll be operating during 4 days and in between I have my LOE sim (Line Orientated Evaluation) which consists of an exam and then training. Flying from LIS brings cool destinations such as Luxembourg where you can spot lots of B747 cargo, Funchal, a challenging airport due to terrain and wind, Nice, Zurich, Ibiza, Bastia, fuerteventura, Marseille and so on. Way more destinations compared to Faro! We can have a 2 sectors day but also 4 sectors.. A lot of crew don’t like 4 sectors because it can be tiring, but personnaly I like it for now. I found it interesting because you learn more than when you fly 2 sectors which means long flights, 2 hours or more in cruise where not so much is really happening. While flying 4 sectors, you’re more exposed, you experience more, you see more descent management, more take off and landings, you discover more airports and learn how to handle frustrating situations with slots which are never a funny thing but you learn; you have to take your manuals and search if you are going to be within your legal limits to operate the flight. Am I going to be in discretion? What about the rest of the crew? What can we do to avoid that? Communicate with the company, find a solution. Flying more also means you see more technical failures, how to do different reset, more ECAM handling, calling maintenance etc. So at this stage of my career, flying 4 sectors is only beneficial for me. After one week in LIS I think I’ve learned more than 7 months in Faro; I’m happy with my decision to move to Lisbon!
Finally, the approach to runway 02 in Lisbon is really beautiful! Especially arriving from the North, you follow the coast flying abeam Nazaré (surf spot), you fly over Sintra, Cascais then the base turn in front of Costa de Caparica, flying towards the sanctuary of ‘Christ the King’ and passing just to the west of the bridge of 25th of April, and the final is just over the city. What a view!