Late night lights at Christchurch Airport

New seal on the runway

New seal on the runway

It has been a case of lights and plenty of action late at night at Christchurch Airport in recent weeks.

The annual maintenance work on the runways began in February and was scheduled to run for eight weeks.

Airport Chief Operating Officer Andy Lester says the work is very dependent on ideal weather conditions - a combination of wind, temperature and cloud cover - not to mention having to work to a tight timetable between late night flights.

"The work began between 6pm and 9 pm and had to be well scheduled, so it could be complete, and the airport fully operational again, by the first flight in around 5 am," says Mr Lester. "We do this each summer and while the overall timetable is roughly the same, the weather is the wildcard.

"This year, the bulk of the works ran to time and schedule, with the exception of two paving shifts at the northern end of the main runway. The change in weather meant they have been deferred until later in the year. "

The $4 million project was completed by Fulton Hogan and saw 5000 tonnes of asphalt used. The work included full asphalt overlay and widening of the intersection of the crosswind runway and the main taxiway, replacement of large areas of asphalt on the international apron and reconstruction of two storm-water drain areas.

A protective coating was also sprayed on areas of the runway and taxiway to extend the life of the asphalt.

Mr Lester says runway maintenance work is scheduled every summer.

"The airport company has an active 20 year maintenance programme  for the airfield, which schedules pavement work each year mainly in the summer," he says.  "This allows the runway and taxiway infrastructure to be maintained in top condition, as well as helping us take care of this very important piece of infrastructure for the city, the region and the South Island.