Auckland Airport is now ready to accommodate the Airbus A380 following the successful completion of its project to repair and widen its main runway. Designed, engineered and project managed by Beca Airports, part of leading New Zealand engineering group Beca, the improved runway will allow the worlds largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, to operate at Auckland.
Auckland is currently New Zealands only airport able to accommodate the A380, the first of which are expected to begin servicing Auckland from mid-2007.
Don Huse, Auckland International Airport Limited Chief Executive, said the project was an important one for the airport company, with significant commercial benefits dependent upon its successful and timely completion.
The introduction of A380 services will be important for the continuing growth of the airport, as well as a boost for New Zealands wider tourism market.
General Manager of Beca Airports, John Marsh, said the project was completed on time, despite over 30 days of rain during the 56-day final stage of the project.
The inclement weather had little effect on our team. The airports flight operations experienced as little disruption as possible and the project was completed on time and within budget.
The project involved replacing 577 concrete slabs, completing the widening of the runway shoulders to 45,000m2 to accommodate the A380 and replacing 24.5 km of pavement jointing.
Earlier this month Beca Airports was part of a consortium which won the 2006 Australian Construction Achievement Award for Australia’s most outstanding example of construction excellence. The winning project involved widening Melbourne Airport’s 3.7km main runway to accommodate the A380. The project was completed in just 29 days, in approximately a third of the expected time.
Previous airport-related projects completed by the Beca group include the installation of Air New Zealands Airbus A320 flight simulator, terminal expansions at Auckland and Wellington airports and the construction of a new runway at Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, which for the first time made use of coral deposits in the runway sub-base, saving $8 million.
Beca Airports is currently designing and installing an innovative new mobile aircraft maintenance docking system for Air New Zealand Engineering Services at Christchurch, which will reduce maintenance time and costs.