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Renovation of Runway 1 about to take off

Article published
05.03.2015 kl 07:00
Heini Noronen.
A complete overhaul of Helsinki Airport’s main runway is scheduled to commence in May.

The project has required a great deal of careful preparation, and the budget of 18 million euros well reflects the extent of the works planned.

The renovation of three kilometres and four-hundred metres of runway has been entrusted to meticulously selected companies. It will be three months of hard work.

‘It really isn't as simple as just cutting open the asphalt – even the underlying infrastructure, with its power and communication cables, is huge. The runway area alone amounts to roughly 14,000 light fittings’, explains Vice President Heini Noronen-Juhola from Finavia.

At the moment, Runway 1 is in heavy use even on an international scale: Helsinki Airport sees some 550 take-offs and landings, i.e. operations, every day.

Completion in August

Ensuring the traffic runs smoothly during the renovation project from 11 May to 2 August 2015 is no small challenge, as only two runways of three will be available during that time.

For eight of those weeks, the capacity of Runway 2 will also be limited, as it intersects with the main runway and the intersection area will be closed off.

‘We informed the airlines about the scheduled project well in advance last autumn, and asked them to start planning their flights and preparing for any possible changes’, says Noronen-Juhola.

No compromises regarding safety

Runways must always be in exceptionally good working order: the friction of the surface has to be similar to summer conditions, the surface free of debris and any loose items, and the lighting has to be correct.

‘Aeroplane wheels hitting the runway surface result in an immense single point of force. The strength requirement of foundations under the asphalt are very different for runways than for motorways’, Noronen-Juhola continues.

In fact, both the terminals and the runways of all of Finavia's 24 airports are under on-going renovation works. 

Read more about the development and renovation of airports