VIDEO: Shannon's new runway, ta Mac for a great job

18 / 07 / 2017

The rehabilitation of Ireland’s longest runway, at Shannon Airport, is proving a triumph of logistics as the equivalent of one football pitch is re-laid between dusk and dawn each night, the airport has revealed.

Shortly before midnight, following the last arrival/departure at Shannon, a team of 90 vehicles and 70 people roll in for over four hours work on the 3,200 m runway – among the longest runways in Europe.

By the time they finish and get ready for a ninety minute health and safety inspection – before early morning flights resume – the team will have laid enough asphalt to cover an entire football pitch.

The work started in April and by the time it finishes in October 2017, some 50,000 tonnes of asphalt will be laid – equating to 72 football pitches.

Speaking half way through the works, Shannon Airport operations director Niall Maloney explained:  “It’s quite a complex job because not alone is there a huge volume of work being done but there’s a huge focus on the clock and, particularly, on safety.

"The runway must be open and operational every morning for our first transatlantic customers before six am. To ensure this happens our own dedicated Shannon Airport project team, working with our contractor, take 90 minutes to run all the necessary safety checks before that can happen.

“It’s a well-rehearsed activity by our contractor, Lagan Asphalt. A chain of vehicles arrive on site as soon as the last flight is processed.  Planers, tarmacadam trucks, empty lorries, rollers – up to 70 vehicles roll onto the runway for the works every night.  By the time we are finished in October we will have a brand new surface that will serve the airport and the region for the next 25 years.”

Said Shannon Airport managing director Andrew Murphy:  “The project is part of an overall €20m+ programme here at Shannon Airport that is focused on works at the terminal building itself to the runway."

The airport’s runway, built in 1961, was last fully rehabilitated in 1983 and has under gone regular maintenance over the intervening years. The current work includes resurface and rehabilitation enhancements to Runway 06/24, including replacement of existing runway lighting and fittings, raising of the drainage channel, reinstatement of the airfield markings associated ducting and other minor site works.