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Gatwick Airport main runway rehabilitation

Gatwick airport

The 3.3km main runway at Gatwick Airport handles over 53 hourly aircraft movements and is the world's busiest single runway. VolkerFitzpatrick has been awarded the contract to resurface this vital asset as part of key airport investments to meet demands over the next 12 years.



Key to the success of this project was delivering the rehabilitation works to the runway whilst maintaining Gatwick’s demanding flight schedule. Runway possessions were granted six nights a week (Mon-Sat) from 21.30pm to exactly 05.30am every morning.

The runway covers an impressive 400,000m² - the equivalent of 100 football pitches. This required over 50,000 tonnes of Marshall asphalt to resurface. All surfacing materials were batched on site. Each night shift planed and re-surfaced approximately 120 linear metres of the runway whilst works progressed to renew the aeronautical ground lighting’s 38km of duct and pit systems. Over 1,900 runway and taxiway lights were fitted and fed by 530km of new electrical cabling.

While the runway rehabilitation was being undertaken, it provided an opportunity for other improvements to be delivered at the same time. This included the enhancement of the existing runway guard bar system and an upgrade of the runway’s drainage system with four new attenuation tanks.

Our delivery teams embraced Gatwick Airport’s ‘Destination Zero’ philosophy, complementing our own ‘Incident & Injury Free (IIF)’ behavioural change programme. This project successfully contributed over 462,081 hours to Gatwick’s impressive 2.3 million hours of RIDDOR free working.

Derek Hendry, construction director at Gatwick Airport said: “VolkerFitzpatrick has worked closely with the Gatwick teams throughout the planning, design and construction stages to deliver a solution that met both our technical brief and protected aircraft operations They worked with us to overcome the challenges of the extremely unseasonal weather conditions in 2012, taking a proactive approach to re-engineering the design and re-sequencing the works. This enabled us to meet our critical objective of completing the runway resurfacing and return of the runway lighting system by 1 October 2013 ”


  • Shortlisted - ICE Engineering Excellence Awards 2013
  • Finalist Construction News Awards 2014



See the media coverage about the works on Gatwick:

Facts and figures

  • Client:
    Gatwick Airport Ltd
  • Value:
    47 million
  • Dates:
    August 2011 - March 2013
  • Project categories
    Civil engineering

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