Auckland Airport in New Zealand is set to begin a second major runway maintenance project this week.

The project, which involves the replacement of 81 slabs at the western end of the runway, was brought forward in view of weak travel demand amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the project, around 250 truckloads of concrete will be poured to rehabilitate 3,000m² of runway. A 150-member construction team will be deployed for the programme.

The work is expected to be completed at the end of the year.

The airport completed the first runway maintenance project in August this year. This programme involved the replacement of 280 large concrete slabs.

Auckland Airport Infrastructure general manager André Lovatt said: “The first slab replacement programme was a great success, and we’re continuing to get ahead of planned maintenance by bringing forward other important work on our runway.

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“Our organisation has been significantly affected by Covid-19, but the downturn in aviation traffic has also created opportunities for us to carry out runway works with minimal disruption to airlines, to ensure the ongoing safety and efficiency of our airfield.”

The runway will be shortened by 990m at the western end during the maintenance project.

Around 14,000 flights are expected to use the shortened runway during this eight week work period. The figure is nearly half the number of flights operated from Auckland Airport in the same period last year.

The contractor of the project is Brian Perry Civil.

Lovatt added: “We’ve had to reduce our infrastructure development programme over the next couple of years but we’re making a point of prioritising projects that are focused on essential safety and asset maintenance.”