Stansted airport has released rarely seen images of its runway being refurbished during the daytime.
Contractors normal carry out heavy maintenance twice per year, with works restricted to overnight during weekends.
But the current reduction in flight movements has allowed the airport to close its runway during part of the day, giving workers rare access to the area during daylight hours.
Up to 200 contractors and 100 vehicles and items of machinery are being used to lay 1,000 tonnes of asphalt.
The work on the 3,048 metre runway is expected to be completed by April 24, and at the same time 3,600 airfield lights are being upgraded to energy efficient, high performance LED lamps, similar to those already installed on the runway.
Stansted says these low energy lights will reduce power output from airfield lights by around 70 per cent.
Commenting on the news London Stansted’s asset maintenance services director, Kathy Morrisey, said:
“We all recognise this is an extremely difficult and challenging time for the whole country, and here at the airport it is no different following the dramatic and unprecedented reduction in flights.
“The situation has however given us the unique opportunity to access the runway during the day when usually we would have hundreds of aircraft landing or taking off.
“This means that rather than a maximum of three and a half hours a night over the weekend, the team will have up to six hours each weekday to complete complex maintenance work without the same time pressures and challenges of working overnight.”
“The runway is obviously a key asset for the airport, and it’s critical it is maintained to the highest standard, so while we are in a situation none of us would wish to be in, we are using this as an opportunity to carry out essential work to ensure the airport is able to return to normal as quickly as possible once the current restrictions are lifted.”
Stansted recently converted one of its long-stay car parks to a temporary drive through coronavirus testing centre, as part of the government’s drive to ramp up testing for NHS workers.