Sun, December 05, 2021

in-focus

Suvarnabhumi Airport fixing complaints about ‘soft’ runway


Suvarnabhumi Airport is working on improving runway, taxiway and taxilane surfaces following complaints from pilots, a senior official said.

Wing Commander Suthirawat Suwanawat, general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport, Airports of Thailand, said the airport is resolving the issues raised by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations in their 2018 safety bulletin about the airport’s taxiway and taxilane having a soft surface, which could jeopardise the landing of planes.
“Since the issued was pointed out, Suvarnabhumi Airport has been improving the surface of its runway, taxiway and taxilane,” he said. “At present most of them are in optimal condition, in keeping with international standards, while the statistics of emergency repairs have been decreasing significantly.”
According to the general manager, the airport has only two runway-related projects pending: the Eastern runway surface repair (runway 01R-19L) and Rapid Exit Taxiway surface repair. “These projects were started in 2019 and are progressing according to the plan,” he added.
Suthirawat also added that to fix the soft ground problem in the long term, the airport will gradually switch the material of its runway, taxiway and taxilane from asphalt to portland cement. “The new cement is much more durable than asphalt,” he said. “We’ve already discussed with the project contractors and expect construction to begin later this year.”
“So far, there have been no reports of planes being affected by cracking asphalt or damaged surfaces. However, the airport will remain vigilant at all times,” Suthirawat said. “We have assigned staff and emergency repairing machines within the airport areas 24/7. Furthermore, we have installed pumps to drain underground water under taxilanes T8, T11, T12, T13, T14, which should prevent the ground from becoming soft.”
“AOT has organised meetings with related agencies such as Airline Operators Committee, Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Ltd, Airport Consultative Committee and International Air Transport Association every quarter to report on the progress of airport surface issues since 2018 to ease concerns and ensure all stakeholders that we are committed to fixing the problems,” Suthirawat added.

Published : January 09, 2020

By : THE NATION