Renovation of North Runway Completed: Flight operations to commence with the winter flight schedule23.10.2015
The renovation of the runway at Schönefeld Airport has been completed. The final friction tests were concluded today. As planned, aircraft will begin taking off again from the future North Runway of BER right on time for the start of the winter flight schedule early Sunday morning. The South Runway of BER, which was in temporary use from 2 May to 24 October 2015, will be used again for flight operations when the new airport opens for business.
Karsten Mühlenfeld, CEO of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH: “We are delighted that we were able to complete successfully the renovation of the North Runway on time and budget. We now have a runway conforming to especially high safety and quality standards available for current operation at Schönefeld Airport and for later operation at BER. We were especially intent on providing comprehensive information to the residents living in the vicinity — before the start of the North Runway renovations as well as over the entire term of the project. Our information measures included a 24/7 information service for neighbouring residents that was contacted especially intensively at the beginning of the construction work. The close coordination of the construction department with the airport departments Aviation and Safety and with the Joint Superior Aviation Authority of Berlin-Brandenburg, the Deutsche Flugsicherung and the Deutscher Wetterdienst [National Meteorological Service] also made decisive contributions to the success of the project.”
State Secretary Rainer Bretschneider, Airport Coordinator for the State Government of Brandenburg: “We have finished the work on schedule. An important phase on the road to BER has been completed. This success will motivate us even more as we tackle the important tasks still before us between now and the opening.”
Jörg Rösler (Dipl.-Ing.), member of the STRABAG AG Management Board: “The construction work confronted all of the involved parties with high logistic hurdles. It was not only a matter of renovating large areas in a short period of time. We also had to plan the work around the fact that sections of the runway where work was not being done at the moment would be crossed by aircraft. The construction workers were at times on the job around the clock, working in three shifts, so that the project would be completed on schedule. One of the hottest summers in a long time was an added burden on the workers during the renovation.”
Renovation of the North Runway
Renovation of the North Runway began in May 2015. The construction work on the runway was completed at the end of September, and the tests and operational startup of the technical systems took place in October. In addition, the Deutsche Flugsicherung began using the runway in the middle of October. Up to 200 construction workers were employed on the North Runway between May and the end of September. Using about 50 units of heavy equipment such as milling machines or asphalt finishers, the workers removed the two old upper asphalt layers and laid new asphalt on about 220,000 square metres. Up to 6,200 tonnes of asphalt were required each day for the work. The surface was finished off with an anti-skid layer to improve skid resistance. All together, the new markings on the runway have a length of 17 kilometres. The hard shoulders next to the runway cover a total area of 510,000 square metres. Their completion required the excavation of 250,000 cubic metres of soil. The new slotted channels run for a length of 5,480 metres. 1,500 new runway lighting elements with state-of-the-art LED technology were installed. 21,000 cable marking signs were placed along 280 kilometres of cable.
The conclusion of the renovation work on the North Runway and its operational startup provide the current Schönefeld Airport as well as the future BER with a runway that is EASA certified and meets especially high safety and quality standards. For instance, the safety areas surrounding the runway and the runway end safety areas (RESA) have been upgraded in their design to comply with the EASA standard.
24/7 information service for residents in the vicinity activated
The Airport Company set up an information service for area residents which could be reached by email and phone for the duration of the construction work; airport neighbours were able to contact the service to learn about the progress of the construction work and to report any disturbances from the noise. In addition, information about the project and answers to the most frequent questions about the work were made available and constantly updated on the online neighbourhood portal. In the time from 21 April to 20 October, a total of 478 queries were submitted by phone and email to the information service for neighbouring residents, 300 of them during the first six weeks until the end of May. The number of queries declined to an average of 35 calls and emails a month in the period from June to October. Most of the residents’ queries concerned aircraft noise (217 queries) and noise protection (107 queries).
Aircraft noise lower than predicted
The Airport Company began operating all 16 of the permanent measurement points around BER during the temporary operation of the South Runway. In addition, mobile measurements were carried out at twelve more distant locations. The measurement results were submitted to the pertinent government authorities and the Aircraft Noise Commission monthly and published on the internet. The analysis of the measurements revealed that the assumed noise level was consistent with the actual levels or that the aircraft noise was in some cases even significantly lower than the assumed values. The noise level measured at the measurement points along the South Runway between May and September were between five to eleven decibels lower than the values assumed for the calculation of the required noise protection measures. At the measurement point Kienitzberg, for example, the highest measured value was 97 decibels (highest assumed value: 108 decibels); at Waltersdorf, it was 90 decibels (highest assumed value: 101 decibels); and at the measurement point Karolinenhof Süd, it came to 82 decibels (highest assumed value: 87 decibels).
The neighbouring residents in the daytime and night-time protection area around the South Runway were issued adjustment claims as part of the noise protection programme for BER in 2014, provided that the applications could be processed. The affected residents were aware of their claims to noise protection and had the opportunity to apply for the noise protection measures. The claim areas along the South Runway were determined on the basis of flight patterns and a number of aircraft movements. The flight patterns were proposed by the Aircraft Noise Commission Berlin-Schönefeld to the German Federal Supervisory Authority for Aviation Safety (BAF). The number of aircraft movements corresponds to Schönefeld air traffic in 2013, including a tolerance margin of five per cent.