The Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) will get underway this week with consultation on the construction of a Runway End Safety Area (RESA), as required under Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules for international airports, chief executive Steve Sanderson said.
An RESA is an area of formed ground intended to reduce the risk to an aeroplane of under or over-running the runway. Its secondary function is providing improved access for emergency services.
“Changes to CAA rules now require Runway End Safety Areas (RESA) at international aerodromes therefore the regulation applies to the main runway at Queenstown Airport, which is used by international flights,” Mr Sanderson said.
Queenstown Airport had been working through the requirement and reached agreement with the CAA to meet compliance by 12 October, 2011.
The requirements were:
A minimum RESA length of 90m or 240m “if practicable”, or as greater distance between 90m and 240m that is “practicable”.
A minimum RESA width of twice the runway width or “where practicable” equal to the width of the graded portion of the runway strip.
“Given existing constraints around Queenstown Airport in terms of topography and the built environment, the CAA has approved a 90m long RESA at Queenstown Airport. The maximum width of the existing runway is 45m, therefore the RESA will be twice this width, that is 90m wide,” Mr Sanderson said.
At the western end of the runway, the end closest to Frankton town and Lake Wakatipu, there was sufficient land within the Aerodrome boundary to accommodate the RESA. An existing jet blast protection bund at the end of the runway strip would be removed to provide a 90m graded area, which would become the RESA. A jet blast proof fence would be provided at the boundary, instead.
“At the eastern end of the runway, the end closest to the Shotover River, the RESA will be formed by placing fill to form an extension to the river terrace. The river itself will not be affected,” Mr Sanderson said.
The key dimensions of the RESA at the river end are:
Extension of fill from existing terrace: 50 metres (approximate)
Width at limit of extension: 90 metres
Width at line of existing terrace crest: 200 metres (approximate)
Horizontal projection of slope: 110 metres (approximate)
Width at toe of existing slope: 350 metres (approximate)
“The QAC, as a requiring authority, will seek to alter the boundary of the Aerodrome Designation in the District Plan at the Shotover River end to accommodate the RESA. The Notice of Requirement (NOR) to alter the designation will be publicly notified,” Mr Sanderson said.
Consents relating to the engineering works and flood protection to form the RESA would also be required from the Otago Regional Council.
“Construction will get underway pending the necessary consents and a request for information based on concept designs, ideally towards the end of 2008 as the construction could take up to two years,” Mr Sanderson said.
The RESA would be landscaped on completion to blend in with the terrace either side and feature native species.
“If for any reason we are not able to comply with the 2011 deadline, the alternative open to the airport is to mark the safety area on the runway, which would then reduce the takeoff and landing area of aircraft,” Mr Sanderson said.
Aircraft would have to remove the safety zone from calculated takeoffs and landings.
“Effectively that will mean that Boeing 737s and Airbus 320s will need to reduce passenger loading, which may either lead to higher airfares to Queenstown or worse, the reduction of some air services. Obviously, we want to avoid both scenarios,” Mr Sanderson said.
In order to provide the community with details of the RESA and invite feedback, a public ‘drop in’ session would be held tomorrow (Thursday) at the Queenstown Resort College between 3:30pm and 7:30pm.