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Gatwick awards contract to resurface world's busiest single runway

Gatwick Airport has awarded a significant contract to civil engineering contractor VolkerFitzpatrick to resurface the airport's main runway.

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VolkerFitzpatrick wins multi-million pound contract to resurface Gatwick's 3.3km main runway

Upgrade project will begin in March 2012.

Part of Gatwick's £1 billion investment programme delivering benefits to passengers and airlines

The main runway - the heartbeat of the airport - is resurfaced every 11 years to ensure it remains in the best possible condition. Gatwick will also take the opportunity to carry out additional works at the same time, such as, replacing the airfield lighting and improving the drainage system.

The project will involve resurfacing an area of 400,000m2 - the equivalent of 100 football pitches - with approximately 65,000 tonnes of asphalt. Around 1,900 runway and taxiway lights, fed by 530 kilometres of electrical cabling, will also be replaced.

Carrying out work on Gatwick's main runway is a major challenge with up to 53 aircraft landing and taking off every hour. However, the project will be delivered during the quieter night period to ensure passenger flights are not disrupted.

David Wilson, Head of Airfield Capital Projects, said: "We are delighted that VolkerFitzpatrick is on board. With an excellent safety record and extensive experience of working in complex airfield challenging environments, VolkerFitzpatrick will help drive capital efficiency and quality, as we work to keep our critical asset in tip top condition.

"With just seven working hours each night, we will remove and replace about 130 metres of runway at a time. The work will be planned and executed with military precision to ensure it is completed and inspected before the first flight is due to take off. I'm confident our team working in partnership with VolkerFitzpatrick, will rise to the challenge."

Alistair Thompson, Director of Major Projects (Civils) at VolkerFitzpatrick, said: "We are pleased to be working with Gatwick Airport on this challenging project; VolkerFitzpatrick's specialist teams are well suited to this type of work. We will be working in collaboration with the Gatwick team on the detailed design of the works until the end of the year, with a construction start date of March 2012."