Construction work on a blast deflector at Owen Roberts International Airport (IATA: GCM) has begun as part of improvements in operations and safety standards, according to the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA), which operates GCM and the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport (CYB).
Due to an extension of the runway, aircraft taking off are now much closer to the Old Crewe Road fence line. The blast deflector was designed to force the air from departing aircraft upwards, protecting pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles on the road adjacent to the fence line from air turbulence at ground level.
The blast deflector is made of galvanised steel panels that are powder-coated and painted orange and white for easy identification. The panels are mounted on a lightweight steel frame and fastened to a monolithic concrete foundation to fix them in place. The blast deflector will extend from the south side of the extended runway and continue around the perimeter fence line, with assembly and installation scheduled for completion as this edition of API went to press.
Additionally, as part of GCM’s Airfield Upgrade Project, the new runway and runway extension will be grooved to enhance water drainage during heavy rainstorms and help increase the friction coefficient and associated safety factors for aircraft landings and departures during extreme wet weather.
The new runway has been strengthened with additional layers of asphalt, have increased the camber of the runway to a 2% slope to aid water runoff, with the grooves acting as a channel for water to shed more efficiently, reducing water pooling on the runway. A spokesperson for the airport said the grooving work is being performed at night to avoid disrupting aircraft movements and is scheduled to be completed by the end of August 2020.
Once the grooving is completed, runway paint markings will be added and enhanced with reflective glass beads to increase runway visibility in low light and inclement weather. That process is expected be complete by mid-September 2020.