Here’s something you don’t see every day: “Pothole” repair at the airport

Published on : Monday, December 2, 2013

Budapest AirportSpecialists at Budapest Airport are using the off-peak daytime hours as well as the nighttime to repair tiny cracks in the concrete of runway I and to replace the jointing in between the concrete slabs, before the frost sets in. This is necessary primarily for aviation safety reasons, as concrete debris could be sucked into the engines of aircraft, potentially causing serious damage. That is why the smooth surface of the concrete must be restored before winter arrives.

Budapest Airport has commissioned specialists from OAT Ltd., who are working day and night on the older, 3 kilometer-long runway I to repair surface defects. Wherever possible, they are using two-component artificial resin, which provides an extra hard surface. Under favorable weather conditions, the resin dries in as little as 3 hours, leaving the runway available for use by aircraft. Whilst traditional concrete requires no less than 28 days to harden, the use of artificial resin ensures that the runway can be reopened within the shortest possible time.


Budapest Airport has two parallel, independent runways located at a distance of 1.6 kilometers from each other. Runway I, the older of the two, is 3 kilometers, whilst the newer runway II is 3.7 kilometers long. Thankfully, the structures of both concrete runways are extremely solid and of high quality. They are suitable for all types of civilian and military aircraft, and will not require large-scale repairs for at least another ten years. The contractor is now primarily executing repairs in the so-called touchdown zone, i.e. an approximately 800 meter-long section at either end.


“This is the part of the runway where aircraft, potentially weighing several hundred tons, touch down on the concrete at a speed of approximately 250 km/h, the area that is exposed to the greatest strain,” explained Stephan Schattney, director of Corporate Unit Technical for Budapest Airport. “The airport cannot stop for a single minute, so it was important for us to launch our 750 million HUF concrete repair program this fall, and to execute the most critical repairs before the frosty weather sets in. We are applying proven technology used all over the world. It is not cheap, but it ensures that small cracks endangering the safety of aviation will not form in the concrete, not even during the winter,” he added.


In case of the closure of runway I, traffic on runway II impacts residents in the nearby community of Rákoshegy in different ways than under normal conditions. Budapest Airport therefore continuously informs affected residents about the necessary runway closures, with the help of the local media from Budapest District XVII, and coordinated with the representatives of the local municipality and the community ahead of the works. The airport operator has done everything it could to minimize the incremental noise burdens affecting residents as a result of the works. As part of this, no works are performed on runway I during weekends and bank holidays, whilst the number of runway closures has been kept to a maximum of four, but mostly three per week, usually from 08:30 to 19:30.


Source:- Budapest Airport

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