In 2012, we were invited by the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) to oversee the upgrade andrehabilitation of a runway at George International Airport, in the Western Cape of South Africa. Theproject was initiated by ACSA in order to improve safety at the airport with the implementation of fullRunway End Safety Areas (RESA). The upgrade also included the improvement of runway surfacedrainage and the structural capacity of the runway and graded runway strip.

The Challenge

George International Airport is located at the heart of the Western Cape’s Garden Route. As one ofnine airports operated by ACSA, George International Airport also had the objective of improving thesafety of aircraft operations in compliance with ICAO recommended standards as well as in line withother ACSA operated facilities. One of the major challenges was ensuring that activities at the airport continued undisrupted while therunway construction works were carried out. This meant the contractor had to work during the nightand minimise possible disruptions to daily operations at the airport.

Our Solution

Our proposed improvements included an increase of the Runway End Safety Area (RESA) to aminimum of 240m at both ends of the runway which meant that the runway threshold needed to bemoved. The re-profiling and strengthening of the runway surface was also completed in a way thatmaximised surface drainage. The Airfield Ground Lighting (AGL) configuration was adapted to meetthe new runway layout and upgraded with the latest in AGL technology. Detailed design and tenderdocumentation was also prepared for the above scope of works.

The Outcome

Construction was completed over a seven month period during 2014. The phasing of the works wascrucial to maintain the high level of operations at the airport, an objective which was successfullyachieved. The runway at George Airport is now fully compliant for the operation of Code C (B737-800)aircraft.

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