Image: The runway after work was completed.Courtesy DIO / MoD / Crown Copyright

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has completed a nearly £7 million project to extend the lifespan of the runways and taxiways at the Mount Pleasant Complex (MPC) airfield in the Falkland Islands.

The project included repainting runway and taxiway markings in reflective paint, replacing airfield signage with new compliant back-lit units, and coating the runway asphalt with a layer of bitumen. This protective layer will extend the life of the treated surfaces until they can be fully re-laid in the coming years.

The £6.96 million project was awarded to Mitie in June 2022 and was undertaken by sub-contractor Gatwick Construction, with work commencing at the end of January.

The project team worked at night to add the protective layer to the runway and liaised closely with MPC staff on a daily basis to avoid disruption. The work was carefully planned to ensure there was no impact on airfield operations and flights were able continue as scheduled throughout. This was particularly important given that Mount Pleasant Complex is used for the airbridge flights to and from the UK, for LATAM flights connecting the Falkland Islands to South America, as well as by the Falkland Island Government Air Service (FIGAS) which connects MPC with the outlying islands of the Falklands.

Extended runway life

DIO Project Manager Robert Handford said: “We’re very pleased to have completed this important work at Mount Pleasant Complex two weeks ahead of schedule and within budget. As with many large infrastructure projects in the Falkland Islands, we had to transport the necessary equipment by air or container ship, which makes the project more complicated than it would be in the UK and means the work has to be even more carefully planned, which must be done well in advance. This work has improved the runway infrastructure and extended the life of the runway surface until it can be fully resurfaced in due course.”

Brian Talbot, managing director, Central Government & Defence, Mitie said: “The airfield is a critical piece of infrastructure on the RAF Mount Pleasant Complex, and we are proud of our work to refurbish the site’s runway, extending its lifespan for years to come. The prompt completion of this project is testament to our strong and long-standing partnership with DIO in the Falklands.”

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