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London Stansted Airport Resurfaces Runway During Pandemic

A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 landing. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

The COVID-19 pandemic has halted the majority of airline operations around the globe. London’s Stansted Airport, the fourth busiest airport in the U.K., has taken the time as a chance to keep enhancing its facilities for the future.

The airport is spending 11 days to resurface its 3,048-meter runway from Apr. 14. According to Kathy Morrisey, the airport’s Asset Maintenance Services Director, “The situation has given us the unique opportunity to access the runway during the day when usually we would have hundreds of aircraft landing or taking off.”

Normally, the airport would resurface its runway every 10 to 15 years and implement regular maintenance twice a year. The maintenance work will only take place at night to minimize flight operations.

Since the coronavirus swept across the country, the third busiest airport in London remains cargo operational and still maintains limited passenger flights for essential travel. As a result of the drastic drop in passenger flights, Stansted enabled its staff to carry out the runway work during daytime. The airport will benefit from daylight hours which could relieve the time pressure and challenges of working overnight.

In the meantime, 3,600 airfield lights are being upgraded to LED lamps, similar to the light already installed on the runway. The new lights can provide better and safer operations for aircraft in low visibility conditions. Also, the LED lamps may cut the operating costs and cut emissions.

The U.K. became one of the hotspots in Europe for the coronavirus. Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary of the country said, “I won’t be booking a summer holiday at this point, let’s put it that way.” The threat of coronavirus in the country is far from over.

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