Construction of Airport Runways

Airport runways are one of the most important infrastructure elements in a modern airport. They play an essential role in allowing aircraft to take off and land safely, so it’s crucial that they’re constructed correctly. In this article, we’ll take a look at the construction process for airport runways, from the planning stages all the way through to the final inspection.

Airport Runway Construction Process

Construction of airport runways usually begins with the removal of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation that may obstruct or interfere with the view of pilots. In some cases, existing utility lines or other infrastructure may also need to be removed. Once the vegetation has been cleared, the runway surface can be prepared by using a variety of techniques including grading, paving, and the application of a surface sealant.

Paving methods typically used for airport runways include asphalt (or an asphalt-based product), concrete, or a polymer mixture such as concrete-polymer. The type of pavement selected will depend on the type of soil present and the desired performance characteristics (e.g., cushioning, resistance to staining). In some cases, a secondary pavement layer may be added to further improve performance characteristics (i.e., temperature resistance).

Once the runway surface is prepared, it must be sealed to protect it from moisture and weathering. In most cases, a surface sealant will be applied in a thick layer using a high-pressure sprayer. The sealant is then allowed to dry before being carefully removed using a sandpaper-type scraper. If necessary, additional layers of sealant can be applied.

The construction of airport runways is a process that can take many years. The runway must be long and wide enough to handle the largest passenger jets while avoiding any potential obstacles on the ground or in the air.

Airport Runway Construction Materials

Construction of airport runways can be a difficult task, but it is important to use the right materials. The following are some of the most common construction materials used for runway construction:

  • Asphalt
  • Concrete
  • Steel
  • Cable-stayed bridges


Asphalt is the most common type of runway construction material. Asphalt is a mixture of mineral and organic material that is heated until the organic material liquefies and forms a sticky black liquid. This liquid then expands when it cools, creating a strong surface for aircraft to land on.


Concrete is another common runway construction material. Concrete is made up of small pieces of cement and sand mixed together with water. The mixture is then poured into molds, and eventually hardened by Exposure to air and sunlight. This makes concrete very strong and durable – perfect for runway construction.


Steel is also a common runway construction material. Steel is made up of metal sheets that are cut into different shapes and then welded together. This makes it very sturdy – perfect for supporting aircraft during landing and takeoff.

Cable-stayed bridges

Cable-stayed bridges are a very recent invention that is being used more and more to build airports. They are much more stable than traditional bridges and don’t require as much maintenance. They are also much faster to build, which is why they are being used more often for large projects like airport runways.

Runway Construction Layers

Construction of airport runways typically employs a series of layers, starting with the bottommost layer, or the substrate. This substrate is usually a type of clay or asphalt, and it can be used for both wet and dry construction.

The next layer is a plastic membrane that’s laid down on top of the substrate. This membrane is designed to keep water and other debris from penetrating the soil below, while also preventing the soil from blowing away in the wind.

The third layer is a layer of sand that’s laid down on top of the membrane. This sand helps to stabilize the ground beneath the runway, while also preventing moisture from entering through the pores in the sand.

The final layer is a hard surface that’s composed of artificial rocks, and concrete or asphalt material.

Runway Drainages

There are a few things that need to be taken into consideration when constructing an airport runway. The first is the drainage of the area around the runway. This is important in preventing flooding and potential structural damage.

Another important factor is the slope. A runway that is at a steep angle can be more dangerous if it floods. Additionally, a slope can cause water to flow faster down the runway, potentially causing erosion. Ideally, a runway should have a gradual slope so that water flows easily and without disruption.

In order to ensure both safety and efficiency, many airports use conveyor systems to move the rainwater away from the runways. These systems use large pipes or channels to move water slowly away from the runway, helping to avoid flooding and preserving the surface below.

Runway Marking

The construction of airport runways often necessitates the use of runway markings. These markings can be either permanent or temporary. Permanent runway markings may include longitudinal and transverse white lines, yellow diagonal stripes, or red circles. Temporary markings may include brightly-colored plastic cones, tape, or flags.

How to Construct Airport Runway

The construction of airport runways is a very precise and complicated task. It is important to have a reliable team of professionals who can help you get the job done right. Here are a few tips to help you build an airport runway:

1. Establish preliminary plans and specifications with your local aviation authority. This will help ensure that the project meets all requirements and expectations.

2. Get licensed and insured contractors involved early on in the project. This will help to minimize any potential damages or accidents during construction.

3. Coordinate your work with other airport users and neighboring communities. This will help to minimize disruptions and ensure smooth sailing on your runway project.

Airport Runways
Airport Runway


The construction of airport runways is a very important part of aviation. Without proper runway construction, planes cannot take off and land, putting thousands of people at risk. Airlines and airports require precision in the construction of runways so that flights can take off and land as safely and smoothly as possible.

How are airport runways built?

Airport runways are built in a specific way to make sure that planes can safely land and take off. The longest runway at LAX is 5,000 feet long, while the shortest is just 1,600 feet. The runway must be long enough to allow planes to take off and land without having to go around. The runway also needs to be wide enough so that two planes can land at the same time.

How thick is runway asphalt?

When it comes to airport runway construction, the thickness of the asphalt can make a big difference. Thick asphalt means less chance of a runway collapse in the event of an accident. It is also much more durable and can handle a greater amount of traffic. In some cases, runways can be as thick as 12 inches.

Why are runways not flat?

Airport runways are not always flat. They are actually constructed in a way that allows them to slope gradually away from the plane. This is necessary so that air can flow smoothly over the plane while it is in flight. Sloping runways also make it easier for planes to take off and land.