Maintenance management for flight operation areas

Ensuring that the airports are ready for operation is of fundamental importance for international trade and for Germany as a business location. In addition to the expansion and modernization of existing capacities, the main focus is on maintaining and renewing the flight operation areas. This requires suitable organizational measures and management systems (asset management and pavement management) as well as regular updating of the information required for decision-making and controlling (inventory and condition).



Services at a glance

  • Pavement Condition survey and assessment of flight operation areas
  • Bearing capacity measurements
  • Pavement Management Systems (PMS)
  • Training and consulting on asset management according to ISO 55000
  • Practice-proven procedures for Building Information Management (BIM) according to ISO 19650

Besonderheiten von Flugbetriebsflächen

The operation and maintenance of flight operation areas regularly pose major challenges for operators. Structural measures have to be coordinated with ongoing operations and often have to be carried out during the night due to the high workload and tight flight schedule. Maintenance and renewal measures are often combined with operational work or the maintenance and renewal of technical equipment. Planning therefore usually requires a longer lead time. Due to the potentially high consequential costs in the event of flight operations being cancelled, construction measures must be implemented on schedule. It is common practice that preventive measures are often implemented when a runway is closed due to construction work, e.g. a runway. The aim here is to make the best possible use of the time window of the closure and to optimize the potential useful life of the facility section.


Changing requirements

The dimensioning of the flight operation areas is not an easy issue. The demands on them have changed considerably over time, especially in international flight operations. When Boing came onto the market with the 747 model 40 years ago, many airports had to be fundamentally rebuilt and reinforced. At that time, nobody could have known that even larger aircraft would be used with the A380 from Airbus in the 2000s. In the meantime, the trend is moving back to smaller aircraft due to price pressure. There is a great dependence on the aircraft industry and customers, which must always be taken into account in strategic and tactical planning.  It must also be mentioned that the technology to be used is constantly evolving. This applies, for example, to the area equipment with edge and centerline lighting, approach and departure antennas, loops and much more. The replacement of the technology often also requires interventions in the area of the flight operation areas.


Technical regulations and guidelines

On the technical level, Working Group 4 Infrastructure Management of the FGSV, together with Working Committee 4.9 Flight Operation Areas, monitors international developments in airport construction, in particular those of EASA and ICAO, with regard to their relevance to the German regulations. The harmonization of European standardization for special issues in connection with aircraft movement areas (mirror committee) is aimed at. In addition to the analysis of the international design procedures and the comparison with national procedures, current issues in connection with the execution of construction measures at airports with simultaneous full or partial maintenance of flight operations are also discussed there. In this context, leaflets on drainage, the use of asphalt or concrete construction methods and the leaflet for the structural maintenance of airfields (M EFB) were developed. The latter was published by FGSV-Verlag in 2012. In this context, the Bundeswehr has gone its own way and has developed its own working aids for the design, construction and structural maintenance of aircraft movement areas in 2010. The annex to the document contains, among other things, instructions for the visual and metrological condition assessment of flight operation areas.



Information for maintenance management

The basis for any planning is information. On an operational level, this includes information on the inventory and condition or the development of the condition of the individual components and on the necessary, planned, implemented or being implemented measures. For the strategic management of the infrastructure, this detailed information must be aggregated in a suitable manner in the form of key performance indicators (KPI) and made available to decision-makers in a suitable form.

The management of the information is of central importance in maintenance management. The challenge lies in defining and structuring the data offering in terms of depth, completeness and timeliness in such a way that it can be used efficiently and consistently for decision-making at the various levels. The basics for the organisation of information management and the development of a maintenance management system are described on an abstract level in the standards ISO 55000 Asset Management and ISO 19650 Building Information Modelling (BIM). In particular, they deal with the creation of processes and procedures for coordinating the data requirements of the various stakeholders and the standards for data exchange.

Pavement monitoring

Regular monitoring of the condition of the pavement is of fundamental importance for conservation planning. The cycle of recording should be selected in such a way that the need for measures can be identified at an early stage. In addition to maintenance and renewal or the planning of preventive measures, the main aim is to ensure the operational safety of the sites. Flight safety is highly dependent on the surface properties. These include in particular the frictional connection between wheel and surface, i.e. roughness or grip, as well as evenness and possible loss of substance, which can lead to dangerous damage to the aircraft or accidents. Insufficiently dimensioned structures or structures weakened by structural damage and bearing capacity problems in the subsoil can significantly shorten the planned periods of use. Against this background, knowledge of the bearing capacity of the structure plays a decisive role in maintenance management. HELLER offers corresponding measurements with the HWD.



HELLER - Pavement management systems

Pavement management systems (PMS) will continue to gain importance in the age of digitisation. They will support their users on the operative and strategic level in decision-making and planning and provide daily updated key figures on the stock, condition and performance of the asset inventory.

Before an IT solution is purchased, certain basic requirements must be met. These include, in particular, the creation of the necessary awareness of the necessity of the PMS at management level and in the specialist departments. Without the common understanding that systematic maintenance management requires resources (personnel and equipment) for the collection and maintenance of data and the operation of IT systems, such a project will inevitably fail. Only then should the processes for recording, maintaining, evaluating and assessing the necessary information be analysed and defined. The same applies to the creation of the basic data models and the development of the processes for interdisciplinary data exchange.

The definition of the necessary and not the possible scope of data as well as the required accuracy and completeness is an important issue and should be part of information management. The ISO standards on Asset Management or Building Information Management (BIM) provide a useful framework for this. These describe the organisational framework and the basic requirements for the management of information. Against the background of the common features in pavement management of roads and air traffic areas, it is generally recommended to look beyond the technical boundaries.

We would be happy to advise you on your individual needs during a site visit.

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