Queenstown Airport has a ‘groovy’ new runway
13 Apr 2017
Runway groover at work
A $750,000 project to apply grooves to Queenstown Airport’s runway has been completed three weeks ahead of schedule.
The project was the final stage of an airfield upgrade completed by the airport last year in conjunction with Airways NZ. The $19.5 million upgrade, which involved widening the runway, resurfacing it and installing airfield lighting, was identified as part of the infrastructure required to introduce after-dark flights.
Queenstown Airport General Manager of Operations and Safety Mike Clay commended the construction team, American grooving experts Cardinal Groovers and Downer New Zealand, which averaged over 100m of runway per night, working six nights a week for three weeks to get the job done.
“These guys have a lot of experience working in airport environments,” said Mr Clay. “They understand the operational, health and safety, and community noise mitigation requirements and have performed to the highest standards, delivering the project ahead of time and under budget.”
Mr Clay also thanked the airport’s neighbouring residents for their patience and understanding.
“We’re very mindful of the impact on our neighbours so do our utmost to minimise any noise with overnight works. We really appreciate their patience and I’m glad we were able to complete the project earlier than expected.
“The end result of this $20 million airfield upgrade over the past year will deliver long term benefits for the communities we serve. Grooving the runway has provided more operational resilience by improving the surface friction for aircraft landing in wet weather and when dew is present.
“Employing these types of best practices, codes and standards are part of our ongoing commitment to ensure the airport is as safe, reliable and efficient as possible in all weather conditions,” he said.
More about grooving
Queenstown Airport is the first airport in New Zealand to employ the ‘trapezoidal grooving’ technique which is now considered global best practice for grooving runways, in terms of resistance to rubber contamination, integrity under heavy loads, resistance to chipping and closing, and water dissipation.
Grooved runways are common around the world, particularly for large airports in the United States, Singapore and Australia where climate extremes require measures to increase surface friction.
‘Grooving’ is a specialist skill where diagonal grooves are carved out across the runway surface enabling water to flow freely off the side.