On Monday the news source ABC informed that the Madrid airport will begin one of the biggest renovation projects undertaken in the last decade. Its runway 18R/36L, the longest in the airport and even in Spain, will be completely rebuilt between the 15th of January and the 15th of October. This intervention will force the closure of the runway dedicated to the takeoff and landing of transatlantic flights 23 days after Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter), specifically between the 17th of April and the 10th of May. The stoppage of activity could extend four more days to calibrate the runway signals that guide the pilots in their maneuvering. In fact, according to the airport capacity published on the AECFA website, the runway capacity will be limited from the 17th of April to the 16th of May.
With a length of 4,179 meters and a width of 60 meters, the 18R/36L has suffered the consequences of more than 2 million operations since it was built 15 years ago. In 2005 it was inspected superficially. On this occasion, the construction has been awarded to Dragados y Construcciones for 14.1 million Euros. The maximum cost of the tender for the adaption of the runway would be 24.6 million Euros. These figures according to Elena Mayoral, director of the airport, and Ángel Gallego, AENA project director. Both assure that the runway has all the current security measures. Nevertheless, following <<the security recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) airport codes>>, the airport has decided to carry out this intervention to improve them.
Aena has held individual meetings with the five main airlines that require its services during the month of stopped activity, so that although the runway at Barajas will close it should not affect the operation of the airport.
The renovation of the runway is included in the 450 million Euros that Fomento (the Ministry of Development) will dedicate to airport infrastructure next year. Elena Mayoral also emphasized that the runway already complies with all the pertinent security measures required by the international air transport organizations.
Photo: Runway at Barajas airport Madrid by Oz-Flickr