The Purpose of adding any new Runway to an Airport is to increase Air Traffic capacity.

The Commercial and Economic advantages are obvious.

Dublin Airport currently accounts for 2% of Ireland’s Gross Domestic Product and by effectively doubling the Aircraft Handling Capacity (at least in terms of runway capacity) the increased revenues will have a knock-on effect at National Economic level.

With Planning for the new Runway 10L/28R at Dublin Airport at an advanced stage, the question arises;

What are the issues of interest for the Professional Pilot operating to and from the new facility?

This article aims to answer that question by looking at the factors involved in the development of the Runway from the professional pilot’s point of view.

Some of these factors are:

  • Performance Facilitation.
  • Noise Abatement.
  • Public Safety Zoning.
  • Handling of Future Public Transport Aircraft.


Performance Facilitation

The Performance facility of the new Runway is of vital importance from the Pilot’s point of view in a number of respects.

With the increasing number of Long-Haul flights operating to and from Dublin Airport, the new Runway’s ability to cope with the large wide-bodied aircraft needed to operate these routes is critical.

This stems from a number of factors. Most importantly is Safety.

In the event of closure of the existing Runway, the remaining runway should be able to facilitate operation of wide-bodied (Category D) aircraft In order to keep the Airport open, particularly for Trans-Atlantic traffic.

For flight planning purposes, the new runway needs to facilitate aircraft to increasingly diverse Long Haul destinations.


How should this work?

Take–off run available in simple terms is the length of the runway capable of bearing the load of the aircraft.

Once the load bearing strength of the runway is not a factor, the longer the take-off run available is, the aircraft can accelerate to higher speed and lift more commercial or traffic load and more fuel.

This has immediate safety and commercial advantages.

More fuel allows more airborne time for holding at destination and diversion to name but a couple of examples. It also allows airlines to operate to farther flung destinations with increased payload capability.

This is limited by a number of factors.

Accelerate stop distance available is the runway length plus additional stopway that will allow an aircraft to abort takeoff and come to a halt safely should a failure occur on the takeoff roll.

Also, it is limited by obstacles in the net takeoff flight path. This leads to the takeoff distance available, which is the distance available in order to clear an obstacle in the net takeoff flight path by a minimum of 35 feet.

These factors imply a limitation in terms of the weight of the aircraft operating from the runway.

The landing distance available of the runway is distance from 50 feet to come to a full stop on the runway with additional safety factor of two thirds. This is important in terms of safety, the most critical case being the return of an aircraft to the airport having experienced engine failure during takeoff or shortly thereafter.

Aer Rianta, the airport authorities have commissioned a report by performance engineering specialists in order to determine the design runway length for Runway 10L/ 28R.


Noise Abatement:

Noise in and around the environs of Dublin Airport is an inevitable side effect of aircraft operations. It is safe to assume that with increased air traffic movements due to the new runway, noise levels will also be increased.

However with good planning and improved operational procedures the task of noise abatement can become more successful.

Examples of these include modifications to standard instrument departures from the runway in order to avoid populated areas and where this cannot be achieved thrust reduction and acceleration altitudes can be adjusted to minimise noise pollution.

At present a noise in flight track-monitoring system is being introduced to develop noise abatement procedures at Dublin Airport.


Public Safety Zoning:

For operation of the new Runway 10L/28R, public safety zoning also has to be considered.

Around every runway public safety zones are established to limit development of amenities allowing concentrations of people. A recent report conducted by ERM Ireland Ltd. examined and calculated public safety zones for Runway 10L/28R.


Handling of Future Public Transport Aircraft:

Development of the Airbus A380 is now at an advanced stage with airline deliveries expected to commence in 2006. Due to the large dimensions of this aircraft, airport authorities worldwide have had to modify airport facilities in order to accommodate the aircraft.

These modifications include enlarging aircraft parking stands and widening taxiways and runways.

The new runway and taxiways at Dublin Airport have not been designed to accommodate the A380. However, planning has allowed for future modifications to allow A380 operations.

Planning for Runway 10L/28R is expected to be submitted in late 2003.