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Auckland Airport completes runway maintenance project

Auckland Airport’s runway will return to its full length on Monday morning after a successful maintenance programme to replace 280 large slabs of concrete.

On May 24, the runway was reduced by 1100m to allow for planned maintenance to take place – works which were brought forward following the initial outbreak of COVID-19.

Auckland Airport’s general manager infrastructure André Lovatt said the project had run smoothly with around 12,800 tonnes of concrete transported to the site in 890 truckloads.

“As challenging as COVID-19 has been for those of us in aviation, the downturn provided an opportunity to bring forward this important $26 million project,” says André.

“This was a significant project with 12km of new electrical cabling installed beneath the surface of the runway to support the airfield lighting system. Before we even got to pour the giant concrete slabs, 2200m3 of cement-treated basecourse had to be laid – enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.”

An 80-strong construction team worked on the project, creating a total of 150 jobs over the 11-week project.

André says blast fences have been removed and the first flights to use the runway at full length would be on Monday morning. He said with the project successfully completed, Auckland Airport was considering another smaller-scale project at the western end of the runway, involving the replacement of 80 slabs.

“Just as with the project at the eastern end, this is work we’ve already planned and budgeted for,” says André. “COVID-19 gives us a chance to bring that work forward to take advantage of the downturn in aviation traffic and minimise disruption for airlines.

“The level of collaboration to safely deliver projects like this cannot be underestimated, and we are thankful that the airlines, pilots associations, Airways, the CAA and our designers and contractors have supported the maintenance programme in such extraordinary times.”

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