Smooth landings: how runways are kept ready for action

Airport runways are subject to enormous wear and tear, driven not least by harsh winter weather. Tom Batchelor looks at the lengths being taken to protect them

Canada is a country that knows better than most how to handle the challenges of a harsh winter. With an average of nearly two months of snow per year, and temperatures below freezing for much of the winter, Calgary International Airport (YYC) in the province of Alberta, is well versed in keeping its four concrete and asphalt runways safe and operational through even the harshest conditions.

The airside teams at YYC do everything they can to ensure the runway surfaces are in optimal condition before the season begins, said James Craig, general manager for field maintenance and mobile services at the Calgary Airport Authority, not least because materials are hard to source, with the asphalt plants the airport relies on closing for the winter months.

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