A €15m project to upgrade the country’s longest runway has commenced at Shannon Airport.
100 people will be involved in the 26-week project which will be carried out at night to minimise disruption to services.
Works will involve the rehabilitation of the runway surface, the replacement of runway edge and centre line lighting with energy efficient LED lighting, ducting and other associated works.
The airport’s 3,199m runway was built in 1961 and was last fully rehabilitated in 1983. Regular maintenance has taken place in the intervening years and a full resurfacing of 2,400m of the runway is now required.
The works, which are already underway, are scheduled to ensure that Ireland’s longest runway continues to meet the strict regulations governing the operation and specification of runways at major airports.
Consultations have been taking place with aircraft operators for many months to minimise any inconvenience, in particular, with transit operators who use the airport on a 24 hour basis. Start times will vary on each night to facilitate scheduled services, with night works being completed by 6.00am each morning in order to accept the arrival of the early morning wave of transatlantic flights and European flight departures.
Shannon Group CEO Matthew Thomas said: “Our runway is the airport’s greatest asset and has been the central artery of the airport allowing it to grow passenger numbers by 24% over the past four years. We want to see this continue and this why the runway upgrade project is needed to protect this investment.”
“This is a challenging and complex project with work limited to small time periods every night in order to minimise any inconvenience to our customers. The work is very weather dependent, and will involve the resurfacing of the runway, with a grooved marshall asphalt and the replacement of both our runway centre line and edge lighting. At the end of this project we will possess an enhanced asset that will be key in driving forward our business over the next 25 years,” Mr Thomas added.
Dublin based specialist in this area, Lagan Asphalt Group, has been appointed by the airport to undertake the project following a successful bid under an EU tender process.
The project is also being financed through a loan secured from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.
The operation of runways and design requirements for them are set out in strict national and international guidelines by the Irish Aviation Authority and the International Civil Aviation Organisation respectively. The guidelines are there to ensure that safety standards within the aviation industry are maintained and that the construction characterise including surface friction levels meet these standards.