Surfacing airport runways – safety and speed

Surfacing airport runways

Delayed flights cost huge sums of money, so airport runways need to operate at optimal capacity at all times. Surfacing airport runways need to be undertaken fast as a minute’s delay to a take-off time can run into thousands of pounds of extra costs for the airline and the airport. But safety is also paramount, doubling the pressure on contractors to get things absolutely right in the minimum timespan.

Using GlasGrid® for surfacing airport runways: Gatwick

Airport runways cover huge areas, so the responsibility of keeping the surface smooth and safe, not only for take-off and landing but also for the movement of planes around the airport, is a serious undertaking. Take Gatwick Airport for example. More than 40 million passengers passed through it in 2015, flying to and from 200 different destinations. That entails 55 aircraft per hour using two runways.

When Gatwick had a problem with reflective cracking on the north runway, as their runway contractor, we needed a tough solution to surface one of the country’s busiest airport runways, so we used GlasGrid®. This is an exceptionally strong reinforcement grid structure that, once in place, is able to control crack growth and increase a surface’s load-bearing capacity. It can extend pavement life for up to five times longer.

Our first step was to team up with contractor Aggregate Industries to assess the state of the runway surface and trial appropriate products. We opted to use GlasGrid® CG50L and CG100L. We made good the disrepair over 20 shifts, paying special attention to detailed repairs using GlasGrid® CG100L. The result has given Gatwick one of the toughest airport runways around, with long-term strength and increased load bearing capability—not to mention being super smooth for safe take-off and landing.

The key benefits of using GlasGrid® on airport runways

  • Using this innovative product on surfacing airport runways results in a substantial reduction in maintenance costs due to enhanced strength.
  • Lower reactive maintenance requirements mean the airport runways are more efficient in keeping air traffic on the move.
  • With less down time of runways, airports can maintain and increase their revenue.
  • Effective airport runways contribute to the growth of the economy and employment.
  • GlasGrid® has a proven track record as a suitable product for use on airport runways—it’s trusted by surface contractors and airport operators.

The work we undertook on Gatwick’s airport runways remains crack-free after more than five years of heavy-duty wear. That’s a lot of take-offs and landings.

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