The runway at Owen Roberts International Airport resumed full flight operations on Tuesday, 11 February 2020, at 7:00 a.m.
Runway operations were suspended yesterday at 3:23 p.m. as a result of partial damage to a temporary asphalt ramp placed on the evening of Sunday, 9 February 2020 as part of the runway rehabilitation project currently underway to strengthen the runway. Safety inspections and controlled observations by airport engineers were carried out immediately following the incident, in which the temporary asphalt ramp was “lifted” as a result of aircraft blast. Works were carried out yesterday evening to repair the temporary ramp and to ensure the permanent pavement was not affected. The runway was closed for approximately two and half hours, reopening at 5:55 p.m. yesterday evening with a re-declared distance, allowing limited flight operations to resume.
Additionally, the Cayman Islands Airports Authority’s project team and the contractor met last night to discuss and agree enhanced methodologies to be used in the construction of temporary ramps to prevent a reoccurrence throughout the remainder of the project.
“We had a slight set-back yesterday on flight operations but took immediate action to address the situation and to secure the runway, only resuming flight operations after safety inspections and controlled observations indicated it was safe to do so,” said Albert Anderson, Cayman Islands Airports Authority CEO. “I want to thank all teams involved in yesterday’s operations and last night’s works for their continued commitment to the highest standards of safety and operational excellence.”
The runway rehabilitation project entails the runway to be milled to a nominal depth of 25mm to remove the existing runway grooves, paint and rubber deposits, and then 180mm of hot mix asphalt will be placed on the runway in a series of three paving lifts. At the end of each night’s production, a temporary asphalt ramp will be placed on the runway to account for the difference in the elevations of the new and existing pavement, and temporary paint striping will be installed. After the final lift of pavement is completed, the runway will be grooved and final markings placed.
Works on rehabilitating the runway began in early February 2020 and will take approximately five months to complete. The works will require the runway to be closed nightly to all aircraft movements, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.