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  • UPDATED 18/05/2022

    The following provides an overview of upcoming runway intervention works at Heathrow and their impact on runway alternation.

    Background

    In 2020 we carried out repairs to our southern runway. We originally planned to close the southern runway from July to October 2020 to carry out the repair works, during a period when the effects of the pandemic meant we could undertake this work while traffic volumes were low and with minimal disruption to local communities. However, due to an increase in traffic during that summer we were unable to close the runway for the entire period and therefore were only able to complete around 60% of these works.

    Upcoming works

    From 23 May 2022 we will undertake the remainder of these works on the southern runway along with essential repairs to the northern runway. These works will take around six months and involve deep interventions to the runways through the installation of mesh reinforcement at depth and ducting the Aerodrome Ground Lighting.

    By undertaking these works this year, we will reduce the number of unplanned repairs that need to be made to the runway between scheduled runway resurfacing works. As a result, we will not only be able to establish a more predictable schedule of runway interventions in the future, but we should also be able to reduce the time that regular resurfacing takes - both of which will reduce the disruption for our operation and for our local communities.

    Runway alternation

    In order to carry out these works, we will be closing one runway each night at 22:30 from Monday to Friday. This will mean that the remainder of the day’s operation at Heathrow will be completed on a single runway. This will remain in place throughout the works. It is possible that some weekend work may be required to maintain the programme. We will provide daily updates on our Twitter channel as usual.

    In addition, we will also need a period of nightly runway de-alternation for around six weeks, which will enable us to reduce the overall timeframe of the works by six weeks. We anticipate that this de-alternation will run from 1 August until the middle of September.

    We will update this website with further information as work progresses.

    Q&A

    These runway intervention works will start on 23 May 2022 and continue for around six months. We will provide updates on this website as the works progress.

    For most the works period, we will close the runway that is not scheduled to be used overnight. However, from 1 August until the middle of September we will need a period of nightly runway de-alternation. We will provide daily updates on our Twitter channel as usual to let you know which runway will be used each night.

    Daytime patterns of runway alternation are different to night-time patterns. Daytime runway alternation follows a daily cycle and a fortnightly cycle. Alternation starts at 06:00 and continues till the last aircraft departs at the end of the day. At night, since there are very few aircraft taking-off or landing, there’s more scope for runway alternation whether we are on easterly or westerly operations. We can switch landings between the northern and southern runways and, if the weather allows it, we can bring in aircraft from the east or the west. Those four options allow us to operate night-time runway alternation on a four-weekly cycle. For more detailed information see our runway alternation page.