The media was given access to Gatwick’s ongoing runway refurbishment programme during the night of June 28/29. After the last departure lifted off just before 22:00 the inbound traffic was diverted to the standby runway, which normally acts as the main taxiway. Reporters were given the chance to join the large convoy of vehicles required for the task. A workforce of approximately 180 staff work six nights per week to remove and replace small sections of the 10,879ft (3,316m) runway’s top surface. Only a five and a half-hour time window is available before it is time to start the nightly clean-up task to prepare the runway for the morning’s departures. While the resurfacing work is taking place preparations are also being made to replace the runway lights with new LED equipment.
Although record rainfall levels have hampered the work at times, the refurbishment programme is still expected to finish on schedule in December.