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Auckland Airport pavement replacement advancing

Planning for the pavement replacement works in the touchdown zone at the eastern end of Auckland Airport’s runway is well advanced, with preparation of the safe operational plan for construction nearing completion.

Design and procurement work have been underway for some time, but André Lovatt, general manager of airport development and delivery, says the outbreak of COVID-19 had provided an opportunity to reconsider timing for the pavement construction works.

“Some of our projects have been suspended due to the current market uncertainty, but Auckland Airport has remained committed to completing a number of key infrastructure projects focussed on essential safety and asset maintenance, including the planned runway pavement replacement,” says André.

“With fewer planes now flying, particularly large long-haul aircraft, we are working to carry out construction works at the earliest available time.

“Our first priority for this project continues to be safety, and in recent weeks a multitude of organisations have come together to work on the safety case for the project to ensure a safe and workable solution for everyone, and the best outcome possible.”

The timeline for the runway works to take place will be confirmed once the safety case has been reviewed and endorsed by industry stakeholders. Alongside the workstream on the safety case and timing, engineers have continued with the pavement design and ordering of long-lead items, some of which are coming from international suppliers, though local design solutions are being used where possible.

The runway option currently being considered by stakeholders is to use the existing runway but shorten it by 1.1km during construction – likely to take place over an 8-10 week period. This approach, called a displaced threshold, allows for work to be carried out safely while aircraft continue to operate. Using an existing taxiway (contingent runway option) was also considered but the added complexity of converting the taxiway to a safe, operational runway in a short time frame meant it was not possible.

With the correct safety plans in place, the runway works can continue during all levels of COVID-19 restrictions.

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