Passengers who frequently use San Fransisco International Airport (SFO) patience will be rewarded, as the airport is set to reopen its newly repaired runway a week early!
What are the details?
Simple Flying reported a month ago that SFO was set to shut down one of its main runways for repairs. The runway requires a new base layer underneath the actual concrete planes land on. The base layer was previously “showing signs of fatigue cracking due to a large amount of aircraft activity” back in 2017, but work this intensive could not be carried out at the time.
As such, the airport scheduled for a period of runway closure to allow the runway to be stripped back completely and rebuilt. This would mean that the airport would experience significant capacity reductions and airlines would have to compensate passengers. The project, costing $17.2 million in total, is being funded by the federal government.
“SFO staff have evaluated multiple options and concluded that the best long-term solution is to excavate the section of Runway 28L at the intersection of Runway 1L and 1R to reconstruct the pavement structure,” – SFO Press Release
What has been the impact of the runway closure?
Airlines, such as United, met the challenge head-on by reducing flights and moving around existing bookings. The runway was closed on the 7th of September, resulting in some massive delays for the last few weeks, up to an average of three hours per flight.
This time of year was chosen for the runway closure, as the dry weather and lack of rain were perfect for the concrete to settle. Additionally, the lack of heavy holiday air traffic means minimal disruption to passengers.
And rebuilding this runway has not been a small task either, with a total length of 11,300 feet (3.4 km no less!) the runway has needed extensive work on not only its base layer but also to replace its lighting and drains! Because the runway also intersects with another runway, 600 feet of a 2nd runway also needed to be repaved (shutting down two runways for a period of time).
Why is the runway set to reopen early?
The original plan was for the runway to be closed for 20 days, but it seems that hard work and elbow grease has resulted in planned early reopening, as reported by fellow aviation site Boarding Area.
The runway is actually set to reopen tonight, at 21:00 PM local time!
🚧 Good news! #SFO Runway 28L work will be completed one week ahead of schedule and all runways are set to re-open at 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 19th. Learn more: https://t.co/fIMnt8iQMz pic.twitter.com/Ptn2fh754s
— flySFO ✈️ (@flySFO) September 18, 2019
“I am proud to announce the re-opening of Runway 28L at SFO, ahead of schedule,” said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero in the SFO Press Release “This tremendous accomplishment was made possible by the outstanding collaboration between Airport staff, airlines at SFO, the FAA, and our construction partners, and I am grateful to the entire team for completing this work safely and expeditiously.”
The director also thanked their airline partners and passengers having so much patience during this critical repair.
Passengers can still expect some delays to their travel, as airlines work through the backlog of passengers.
What do you think about this news? Let us know in the comments.