London Stansted Uses Lack Of Traffic To Refresh Runway

London Stansted Airport is using the current lack of traffic to its advantage. The airport is carrying out essential runway maintenance this month in the place of accepting flights.

Stansted Airport, Runway Work, Closed Runway
Stansted Airport will be closing its runway for work during the day. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

For most airports, the lack of traffic caused by grounded aircraft has been a problem. After all, less traffic means fewer airport fees. However, London Stansted is using the situation to its advantage. Several airports are completing runway maintenance, given the lack of aircraft. Runways closures will save the airports involved having to work on the runways during other times of the year.

What’s happening at Stansted?

Stansted Airport has just one runway. As a result, when it’s closed, the airport is closed. Last summer, Milan Linate airport was forced to shut down for significant runway works. Typically, this means that Stansted Airport is only able to close its runway at night for yearly essential maintenance.

This year, maintenance had been due to take place after-hours when there is little demand for the runway. However, the lack of traffic even during the day is opening up more opportunities for runway maintenance. From the 14th to the 24th of April, runway work will take place in six-hour daylight slots on weekdays.

Stansted Airport, Runway Work, Closed Runway
The works involve replacing 1,000 tonnes of Asphalt. Photo: Stansted Airport

To repair the runway, 200 workers will use 100 vehicles to lay 1,000 tonnes of new asphalt. However, the airport will also be working on replacing thousands of lights around the field. In fact, 3,600 lights are being replaced with more efficient LED bulbs.

As a result of the new bulbs, the airport estimates that its electricity usage for lighting will drop by 70%, a win for the airport, and the planet.

Speaking of the work, London Stansted’s Asset Maintenance Services Director, Kathy Morrisey, said:

“The runway is obviously a key asset for the airport, and it’s critical it is maintained to the highest standard, so while we are in a situation none of us would wish to be in, we are using this as an opportunity to carry out essential work to ensure the airport is able to return to normal as quickly as possible once the current restrictions are lifted.”

Stansted Airport, Runway Work, Closed Runway
Airport lights are also being replaced as part of this maintenance work. Photo: Stansted Airport

What about other airports?

London Stansted isn’t the only airport to be closing its runway during the current situation. Heathrow Airport is currently only operating with one runway open at a time.

Meanwhile, Frankfurt has also closed half of its runways. The German capital of aviation typically operates with four runways. The southern runway (07R/25L) is in the process of being renovated. The airport’s northern runway (07L/25R) is being used as a Lufthansa aircraft parking lot.

What do you make of London Stansted’s decision to close its runway during the day? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!