Business Irish

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Dublin Airport plans major runway works as part of €60m spend

A surface movement controller works in the watch tower of the Air Traffic Control Centre at Dublin Airport
A surface movement controller works in the watch tower of the Air Traffic Control Centre at Dublin Airport
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Dublin Airport is to spend an estimated €60m upgrading its existing runway and improving a number of other infrastructure elements.

The Dublin Airport Authority has just invited companies to tender for the work, with the runway improvements expected to be completed within two years. That element of the project will commence next year.

The current main runway - called 10/28 - handles about 95pc of the existing air movements at Dublin, which now amount to over 200,000 a year. Last year, Dublin handled 21.7m passengers.

"Recent studies have determined that the runway does not have sufficient structural strength for the projected aircraft movements over the next 15-20 years and a rehabilitation of the pavement is required," the DAA has told prospective contractors.

It added: "The condition of a number of other very critical assets in the vicinity of runway 10/28 has also been assessed over the last number of years. Through these assessments, it has been determined that the assets must be rehabilitated within the next two to three years in order to sustain airport operations and reduce the risk of a system failure."

The DAA noted that it finds it difficult to even locate spares for its critical but aging approach lighting system.

The existing main runway was built in 1989 and in 2010 was overlaid with a substance to allow for improved friction for aircraft. That scheme, which cost about €7m, had a design life of between six and eight years.

In 2009, the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) - which sets maximum charges at Dublin Airport - noted that the DAA had "reluctantly agreed" with the capital expenditure allowance that the CAR had permitted for the runway overlay project.

The new project will be much more expensive, but more substantial.

The works the DAA has sought tenders for also include the upgrade of lighting on the runway; taxiway upgrades; additional infrastructure for bigger aircraft such as the A380; and new signage.

Work on the runway will take place at night and all elements of the wider upgrade will be undertaken as one umbrella project. "This strategy will optimise both the synergies between the individual projects and the access to the runway and taxiway network, thereby minimising the disruption to the airport in so far as possible," added the DAA.

The DAA is also re-evaluating plans for a second, parallel runway. Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said he expects the DAA to bring forward proposals for the additional runway "soon".

Irish Independent

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