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The Consequences of Deferring Taxiway and Runway Maintenance at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Au Yeung, J.K. (2020) The Consequences of Deferring Taxiway and Runway Maintenance at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

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Abstract:Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is a hub in a global network that resides in the vicinity of Amsterdam. In the status quo, approximately 500 thousand aircraft movements are annually welcomed. However, it is anticipated that the number of operations will further proliferate in the foreseeable future and hence, the taxiway and runway asphalt pavements will have to endure higher load repetitions. In combination with oxidation, precipitation and ultraviolet radiation, the asphalt properties will alter and lead to accelerated deterioration. This inherently provokes durability issues and the asphalt pavement will become more susceptible and less robust to climatic and traffic loading. To guarantee the structural and functional integrity of the taxiway and runway pavements, Schiphol appointed Heijmans as the main contractor for Parcel one. The responsibility of the latter is to conceive a tailor-made maintenance plan to maintain the pavement. The current accumulated pavement area of Parcel one is 400 hectares, for such a vast acreage the annual allocated maintenance budget is over tens of millions of euros. However, as financial resources are finite, not all project can be effectively deployed. A recent example are the travel restrictions during the pandemic earlier this year, that led to unprecedented (adverse) repercussions for Schiphol. The magnitude of consequences was tremendous as 400 million euros of losses were anticipated for solely 2020. Thereupon, as a response to alleviate the deficits, the airport introduced measures to curtail financial expenditures, which among others led to several revoked and deferred maintenance projects. In the end, deferring maintenance is a tempting decision because the consequences are implicit and not immediately emerging. And since these situations are often inevitable, it is pivotal to understand its consequences to prematurely prioritize the pavement maintenance projects, to indicate which projects may not be deferred. There- fore in this exploratory research, endeavors have firstly been devoted to qualitatively investigate the rationales that underpin these nontrivial decisions, beside the limited financial resources. Through a set of interviews with pertinent stakeholders, it was found that new development projects and operational restrictions are often the culprits. After familiarization with why maintenance projects are deferred, pavement failures were scrutinized in the light of deferred maintenance. Through aircraft transponder data and other data sources, the circumstances, under which the pavement failures tend to emerge, were investigated with the Cox proportional-hazards model. This in-depth quantitative analysis exhibited that pavement failures are indeed more likely to manifest on older pavement sections, which demonstrates that deferring maintenance is inextricably intertwined with the emergence of more pavement failures. For example, 12-year-old pavement sections have a 50% higher chance to incur a pavement failure, compared to 8-year-old sections. In addition, it was found that pavements failures would develop more frequently in the bay areas and near junctions. Also pavement sections that are subject to aircraft with moderate taxi speeds or high traffic intensity, appear to deteriorate quicker. Thereupon, the operational impact of pavement failures was analyzed. It was found that a pavement failure at certain pavement sections, could result in traffic detour costing up to e90,000 a day. Ultimately, all of these insights were processed into a time-dependent choropleth model, that depicts the chance on a pavement failure per pavement section. It is envisaged that this elaborate model could support decision-makers in making substantiated and rational decisions in the prioritization of maintenance projects, to guarantee that the most critical projects are identified and subsequently materialized.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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