Airport runway cleaning is conducted regularly as authorities need to ensure that runways, taxiways, and aprons are cleared of debris, rubber abrasion, sand, stones, or loose objects for safe landings and to avoid accidents and mishaps. Aircraft engines can easily absorb loose material, resulting in severe propeller or compressor blade damage. There is also the risk of propeller or jet engine blast shooting loose objects to nearby vehicles, aircraft, buildings, and people.

Regular airport runway cleaning, sweeping, maintenance and monitoring are, therefore, critical to avoid accidents.

Finding apron and runway cleaning and maintenance service providers

Airport Technology has listed leading providers of apron cleaning and maintenance services, including foreign object debris (FOD) sweepers, runway friction testers and runway weather information systems, road drying and cleaning systems, and runways and taxiway preservation.

The list also includes providers of runway retexturing and rubber or marking removal services, hard-surface cleaning solutions, and runway cleaning and reconditioning machines.

The information contained within the download is designed for airlines, airports, passengers, government authorities, suppliers, technologists, architects, designers, local communities, and any other parties involved in the aviation industry.

The download contains detailed information on the suppliers and their product lines, alongside contact details to aid your purchasing decision.

Related Buyer’s Guides which cover an extensive range of airport equipment, technologies and manufacturers, can also be found here.

Airport runway cleaning

High-pressure water blasting or water jets are one of the cleanest and most environmentally safe ways to remove rubber abrasions caused by aircraft landings that leave rubber skid marks on runways.

Chemicals, abrasives, and other mechanical methods are also used in airfield rubber removal or runway rubber removal.

Airport runway maintenance

Airport runway maintenance is performed using three basic methods, which include chemical removal, mechanical grinding or milling, and high-pressure water blasting. Removing the rubber film that sticks to the surface is the most important aspect of restoring the original macro roughness of the pavement surface that provides good drainage to the aircraft wheel during wet conditions.

The milling method has been proven satisfactory in airport runway maintenance, where the integrity of the original surface is kept intact. Milling rollers comprising metal discs on a rotating channel are passed over the surface. The distance between the shaft and the pavement is controlled so that the discs just touch the pavement but without much pressure.

Milling removes the rubber layer and roughens the pavement surface. Sweepers usually follow the milling vehicle to clean the runway of dust and rubber debris.

Apron cleaning and maintenance

Airport apron area clean-up is important as items such as stones, oils, cans, bottles, nails, plastic bags, suitcase wheels, handles, locks, straps, knives, forks, and baggage tags can damage the tires, engine, and thrust reversers of an aircraft, thereby risking its safety.

Apron areas such as aircraft stands and areas used for loading vehicles can also be contaminated with fuel, oils, and lubricants. These areas can be cleaned and maintained by spraying grease solvents followed by water flushing, and if required, water jet cleaning to achieve maximum results.

If oils or fuels are spilt accidentally, a powder or granulate material is scattered over the spillage, which absorbs the liquid and can be removed later by sweeping.