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Last updated 12 April 2023

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


  • Runway intervention works will resume on 20 February to complete repairs to both runways
  • Nightly runway de-alternation will be required during the week commencing 17 April for works on the southern runway
  • The works are expected to be complete on 31 May


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

Since May 2022 we have been working to complete the remainder of these works on the southern runway along with essential repairs to the northern runway. These works involve deep interventions to the runways through the installation of mesh reinforcement at depth and ducting the Aerodrome Ground Lighting.

By undertaking these works now, 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.

80% of the planned works have now been successfully completed. Unfortunately poor weather prior to the Christmas break precluded the works from finishing as planned. The works will now resume on 20 February to complete the repairs to both runways. 

Runway alternation

In order to carry out these works, on some days we will be closing one runway at 22:30. 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. This is only expected to occur on weekdays, however it is possible that some weekend work may be required to maintain the programme. We will also need a period of nightly runway de-alternation during the week commencing 17 April for works on the southern runway. 

The works are expected to be complete on 31 May. We will provide daily updates on our Twitter channel as usual.


For most of the works period, we will close the runway that is not scheduled to be used overnight. 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.