We’ve had a mixed but positive start to 2017, and although the winter weather poses its usual challenges, We’d like to take a moment to give an overview of our plans this year.
In December 2016 we undertook our annual Customer Survey. This year we had over 250 responses. Overwhelmingly we received positive feedback, this year more than ever before, reflecting on the various improvements we continue to make to the airfield and the facilities we provide.
However, this does not mean that we are standing still. We have more improvements than ever planned and I’ll provide a short summary of these here;
Just over two years ago, we took over the management of the Airfield’s Cafe. Now renamed as Runway 26, we’ve succeeded in meeting our objectives to return the facility to a more open, customer friendly environment, welcoming and encouraging more public visitors as well as providing the facilities that pilot’s desire. However, our continued development of the facility is not yet complete. We will soon be re-introducing a new improved play frame for our family visitors. We will be installing new heating to help boost the inside temperatures during the colder months and installing a new flooring and providing additional seating. Most importantly of all, we will be renovating the toilet facilities to increase capacity and modernise. Lastly, for several years the facility has been closed on Mondays. This will be no longer the case, and we are pleased to announce that as from Monday 27th March, Runway 26 will be open 7 days a week permanently.
In recent years, we have invested significant expenditure in providing improvements to our main runways. In 2016, runway 08L/26R was re-declared with improved licensed distances, and the entire runway length was re-graded, creating a massively improved smooth grass surface. This has also firmed up the surface making for a more durable surface.
This year, commencing within a few weeks, we will be re-grading the largest amount of work yet in any given year. This will entail grading an additional section of Runway 08R/26L, grading the entire taxiway from B1 hold to B3 hold, a section of runway 14/32 and an area adjacent to the fuel tank Installation by the tower. A separate Operations Notice will be published shortly describing some temporary procedures and restrictions to accommodate the works.
In recent weeks, we have seen a tremendous amount of rainfall. In fact just recently we had over 12mm of rainfall within 24 hours and in the last 7 days we have seen over 3 weeks average rainfall. This has unfortunately resulted in extensive flooding causing our runways to be closed for fixed winged use. However, we do have an extensive network of drains and once the rains ease off, we do see a very quick recovery providing the rain holds off, allowing our drainage to do its work. Later this year, we plan to install further drains in key areas which will continue to increase this recovery time. This combined with the improved graded and firmer surface will continue to provide us with a durable runway condition as best can be expected from a grass surface.
Even with the above improvements, we can confirm that our longer term aim is to install ‘Perfo’ re-enforcement matting to Runway 08L/26R, and the grading and drainage works are part of our preparatory plan to get the surface ready to accept this matting. This will provide us with an all weather runway, further reducing restrictions and improving safety performance.
Lastly, many will be aware of the plans for a new Hangar at the airfield. This will replace Hangar 2, at the rear of Runway 26 Café, with a much larger facility, allowing us to accommodate additional aircraft that are presently residing on our waiting list as well as providing additional office space for let. We fully anticipate this project to complete during 2017.
These developments will provide additional income in the airfield, which will ensure that we can provide a viable business model for the airfield ensuring its continuing ability to prosper as a premier General Aviation facility within the North West.
Stay tuned to our Social Media for regular updates on our activities.
We very much look forward to an exciting year ahead and we wish all our customers a safe and enjoyable year.
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