Wellington Airport installs real-time runway monitoring system

Posted: 18 February 2020 | | No comments yet

Wellington Airport is one of the first to have complied with an ICAO requirement for all airport operators to assess runway conditions using a new standardised methodology.

Wellington Airport installs real-time runway monitoring system

Following the installation of a runway monitoring system and state-of-the-art sensors, Wellington Airport (WLG) has become the first airport in the southern hemisphere to utilise the technology, and can now monitor runway surface conditions through the access of real-time data.

The nine sensors have the capability to automatically measure the temperature, moisture or ice that is on the runway surface and transmit the data directly, in real time, to the airport’s new Integrated Operations Centre.

Wellington Airport’s Manager of Airport Performance, Lachlan Thurston, said: “Having access to minute-by-minute information about runway conditions enhances air safety and enables collaborative decision making by providing airport operations, air traffic control and airlines with consistent and up-to-date information. We’re pleased to be one of the first airports in the world to have implemented this new and valuable technology in partnership with MetService.”

Wellington Airport is now working in collaboration with industry stakeholders to enable the information to be sent directly to air traffic control and pilots, instead of just the operation centre. The technology will enable pilots to more accurately calculate the aircraft’s landing or take-off performance.

The sensors were installed by Wellington Airport in partnership with MetService, who developed the new technology by adapting proven sensor and display technology from its road weather service.

Ray Thorpe, MetService’s General Manager of Aviation Business said: “MetService is proud to have partnered with Wellington Airport to deliver a solution that enhances safety, while providing critical real-time information to airport operations.”

In addition to the embedded runway sensors, Wellington Airport has mounted mobile sensors on the airport’s runway inspection vehicles, which can be used to conduct spot checks of conditions on any part of the runway, taxiways or aprons.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) announced that it will require all airport operators to be able to assess and notify runway conditions using a new standardised methodology from November 2020. Wellington Airport is one of the first to have achieved this, and the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is currently working with other New Zealand airports on the introduction of the new standard.