€15m upgrade of Shannon Airport runway commences

Shannon Airport has today announced the commencement of a €15 million, 100 job project to upgrade the airport’s runway, the longest runway in Ireland at 3,199 metres (almost two miles).

Dublin based specialist in this area, Lagan Asphalt Group, with offices in Tulla in County Clare, has been appointed by the airport to undertake the project. The appointment follows their successful bid under an EU tender process.

Work on the project includes the rehabilitation of the runway surface, the replacement of runway edge and centre line lighting with energy efficient LED lighting, ducting and other associated works. These works are scheduled to ensure that Ireland’s longest runway continues to meet the strict regulations governing the operation and specification of runways at major airports. The project is being financed through a loan secured from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

Announcing the project Matthew Thomas, CEO, Shannon Group said: “Our runway is the airport’s greatest asset and has been the central artery of the airport allowing it to grow passenger numbers by 24% over the past four years. We want to see this continue and this why the runway upgrade project is needed to protect this investment.”

Shannon Airport provides vital access to the Wild Atlantic Way for tourists, business connectivity for FDI and indigenous companies, which actively stimulates employment right across the region. It is a major catalyst for growth and for over 55 years has directly contributed to Ireland’s economic prosperity, particularly in the West of Ireland.

The airport’s runway, built in 1961, was last fully rehabilitated in 1983 and has under gone regular maintenance over the intervening years. A full resurfacing of 2,400m of the 3,199m runway is now required. 

Outlining the nature of the work Mr. Thomas said: “This is a challenging and complex project with work limited to small time periods every night in order to minimise any inconvenience to our customers. The work is very weather dependent, and will involve the resurfacing of the runway, with a grooved marshall asphalt and the replacement of both our runway centre line and edge lighting. At the end of this project we will possess an enhanced asset that will be key in driving forward our business over the next 25 years.” 

Commenting on the project Brian McManus, Lagan Asphalt Director and Project Manager stated: “The project is one of the most significant runway rehabilitations anywhere on the island of Ireland. As Ireland’s third largest airport Shannon has seen a 24% increase in year on year passenger numbers since 2013 and it represents an important catalyst for the development of long term international business links and tourism visits.”

Work will commence immediately and will take approximately 26 weeks to complete. The works are scheduled to take place at night, five days a week (excluding Sundays and Monday’s) and will not impact on any scheduled services at the airport for the duration of the project. Consultations have been taking place with aircraft operators for many months to minimise any inconvenience, in particular, with transit operators who use the airport on a 24 hour basis. 

Start times will vary on each night to facilitate scheduled services, with night works being completed by 6.00 am each morning in order to accept the arrival of the early morning wave of transatlantic flights and European flight departures.

Kevin Lagan, Chief Executive and Chairman of the Lagan Group added: “As a company that provides a full range of construction services, runway rehabilitations and associated works are an important part of our business. With its expertise Lagan Asphalt offers support to a diverse range of customers across Ireland, the UK and internationally to meet a growing demand for infrastructure. The Lagan Group continues to rank among the leading quarry materials, bitumen, construction products and civil engineering companies in the market.”

The operation of runways and design requirements for them are set out in strict national and international guidelines by the Irish Aviation Authority and the International Civil Aviation Organisation respectively. 

The guidelines are there to ensure that safety standards within the aviation industry are maintained and that the construction characterise including surface friction levels meet these standards.