London Stansted Airport's single runway is to be fully resurfaced in a five-month programme due to begin the weekend of January 13.

Work on the 3km-long runway, which will be managed by engineering firm Lagan, will take place at night to minimise the impact on the local community and airport operations.

Over the course of the project, approximately 50,000 tonnes of asphalt will be laid and 1,300 runway lights will be replaced with energy-efficient LEDs.

Work will be carried out five nights a week, between Saturday and Wednesday. In the first 11 weeks, the runway will be closed between midnight and 6am, while in phase two it will remain open but at a reduced length to allow flights to safely continue operating.

“Handling up to 50 aircraft movements an hour, the runway is obviously a key asset for the airport so it’s critical it is maintained to the highest standard. A project of this scale is very complex and clearly presents us with a number of operational challenges as during just six working hours each night, we will need to remove and replace around 100m of runway surface before safely re-opening it before the first flight is scheduled to take off in the morning,” said Neil Thompson, Stansted Airport’s planning & development director.

“The whole project has been meticulously planned, and we aim to complete the work as quickly and safely as possible to limit the disruption on the operation of the airport and minimise any impacts for our local community.” 

Stansted's runway last underwent full resurfacing in 2006, when the airport handled 15 million passengers. It served 28 million passengers in 2019 (pre pandemic), making it the third busiest airport in London and the fourth busiest in the UK.

Image: Stansted Airport