Flight Free Weekend… What’s going on at ABE?
March 26, 2019
Flights cancelled from May 4th-6th due to intersection work on Runway 6-24
It’s going to be an unusual sight May 4th through May 6th at Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE). There will be no takeoffs or landings by commercial airlines or general aviation aircraft.
“This will be short term pain for long term gain of rejuvenating the “heart” of ABE – the intersection of our two runways to ensure it will continue to serve our communities for the next 20 years,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, Executive Director, Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority.
As part of a necessary $80 million Rehabilitation Project of Runway 6-24, there is a 52-hour closure scheduled for all flight activities to reconstruct the runway intersection pavement beginning on Saturday, May 4 at 12:00 a.m. and reopening on Monday, May 6 at 4:00 a.m.
During this time, no aircraft will be allowed to utilize any movement area surfaces due to the heavy construction traffic that will require the use of taxiways as active haul routes.
This has been a year-long effort of coordination with commercial airlines (Allegiant, American, Delta, and United) and air cargo carriers operating at ABE to not schedule flights over this critical time period, while also notifying aircraft tenants about the project. The Airport Authority has dedicated a significant amount of time and resources explaining the importance of completing this portion of the runway rehabilitation project as quickly as possible.
“Our primary goal was to develop a plan to minimize the overall disturbance of operations for passengers, tenants, and stakeholders. We believe this 52-hour minor disruption accomplishes that result,” said Stoudt.
With construction already underway in this four-phase / four year runway project, the Airport Authority construction objectives for Phase I of the runway project are as follows:
- Rehabilitate the Pavement (20 year future demand)
- Update to current FAA Design Standards (Remove W-Section on pavement, construct runway shoulders, runway safety area grading improvement, relocate VSR’s)
- Install New Storm Drainage System
- Electrical Upgrades & LED lighting
“This is a significant investment by the LNAA with support from the Federal Aviation Administration and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which prepares ABE for the future growth in air traffic outlined by the 2019 Master Plan Update,” said Stoudt.
In addition to the Runway 6-24 construction, the Airport Authority plans to take advantage of the 52-hour closure for other maintenance projects including a $91,225.00 implementation of a common use pavement marking system which will improve safety and operational efficiency for airlines and their ground handling personnel when servicing aircraft. The striping system ensures each aircraft gate includes the same safety and operational parameters to maintain consistency and ease of use.