Leeds Bradford Airport – Runway Repairs

Working airside at the UK's third largest business centre
Leeds Bradford Airport
NEC3 ECC Option A


Leeds Bradford Airport owned by Bridgepoint is a UK regional airport serving the Yorkshire and Humberside region with a passenger throughput of approximately five million in 2016.

Leeds Bradford Airport appointed EWCE as Principal Contractor to deliver full and half bay replacements, crack repair works and surfacing repairs in spring 2016.

EWCE undertook the replacement of eight half-bays and nine full bays to both the Alpha and Bravo taxiways as well as to main sections of the runway, in conjunction with various spalling repairs and surface crack injection works to the same locations.

Works were undertaken on simultaneous day and night time shifts, under the supervision of two Project Managers, who were each separately responsible for the bay replacement works and crack repair works respectively.

Key Challenges

As well as operating within a live airport environment, the other challenge faced by the team was using PQ-X ultra-rapid early high strength gain cement.

The product was very difficult to use because it starts setting after 20 minutes but vital in order to achieve the minimum strength required so that aircraft could safely reuse the runway at the end of the night shift at 0600 hours. In some instances the concrete hit greater than 35 Newtons / mm2 after 3 hours – this takes normal concrete 28 days to reach.

Arrangements for large numbers of operational staff had to be coordinated to undergo safety and security checks a week in advance and prior to each shift. Contingencies such as on-call cover for illness and fatigue were made, as well as the hire of plant fitters to be in constant attendance during the bay replacement works and the hiring of 2 or 3 items of the same equipment meaning that any risk of flights being delayed was mitigated to the full extent.

This included task lighting, compaction equipment, compressors, consumables, aggregates as well as measures being taken to store and heat water for use in the volumetric mixers during particularly cold shifts.

Added Value

In order to undertake a full bay replacement within the typical 2000hrs – 0500hrs available between landing times, EWCE utilised PQ-X ultra-rapid early high strength gain cement to ensure the required strength gain in the allotted period.

EWCE were able to replace and seal a half- bay within 5 hours and as the works progressed, EWCE were able to assess from past curing times if even shortened shifts were possible to undertake bay replacements.

This allowed EWCE to provide the client and the Airside Operations team with a level of certainty that works could be undertaken on shifts which may otherwise have been deemed too short. EWCE continued to work closely with the airside operations team regarding progress on each shift to both ensure that the planned works were on schedule, as well as to programme the clearing and cleaning of the runway, including FOD and snagging works within the same shift, to minimise disruption for future shifts.

EWCE were able to successfully forecast the value of works to completion in order to allow Leeds Bradford Airport to determine whether additional bay replacements were able to be undertaken, both within the contract period and within the client’s budget. The original programme was extended to include additional repairs due to a good working relationship with the client including a further two visits to undertake various surfacing repairs later in the summer and autumn of 2016.

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