Runway asphalt ramp damaged by aircraft blast

| 11/02/2020 | 76 Comments
Cayman News Service
Owen Roberts International Airport, Grand Cayman

(CNS): The damage to the runway at Owen Roberts International Airport, which caused it to be closed Monday afternoon, was caused by aircraft blast “lifting” the temporary asphalt ramp that had been placed the evening before, Sunday 9 February, according to the Cayman Islands Airport Authority. The work was part of the “runway rehabilitation” project currently underway to strengthen the runway.

Runway operations were suspended Monday at 3:23pm and remained closed for approximately two and half hours, reopening at 5:55pm Monday evening with a “re-declared distance”, which allowed limited flight operations to resume. Full flight operations resumed today, Tuesday, at 7:00am, the CIAA said in a release issued this afternoon.

The authority said that safety inspections and controlled observations by airport engineers were carried out immediately following the incident. Work was carried out yesterday evening to repair the temporary ramp and to ensure that the permanent pavement was not affected.

Additionally, the CIAA’s project team and the contractor met Monday night “to discuss and agree enhanced methodologies to be used in the construction of temporary ramps to prevent a reoccurrence throughout the remainder of the project”, the authority said.

In October 2019 the CIAA signed a $30 million deal to expand and upgrade the runway and airfield at ORIA. The selected bidder comprises two local companies — the Dart owned general contractor DECCO and Island Paving — along with IDL Projects, a Canadian firm that specialises in airport infrastructure.

“We had a slight set-back yesterday on flight operations but took immediate action to address the situation and to secure the runway, only resuming flight operations after safety inspections and controlled observations indicated it was safe to do so,” said CIAA CEO Albert Anderson. “I want to thank all teams involved in yesterday’s operations and last night’s works for their continued commitment to the highest standards of safety and operational excellence.”

The CIAA explained that the runway rehabilitation project entails the runway to be milled to a nominal depth of 25mm to remove the existing runway grooves, paint and rubber deposits, and then 180mm of hot mix asphalt will be placed on the runway in a series of three paving lifts.

At the end of each night’s production, a temporary asphalt ramp will be placed on the runway to account for the difference in the elevations of the new and existing pavement, and temporary paint striping will be installed. After the final lift of pavement is completed, the runway will be grooved and final markings placed.

Work on rehabilitating the runway began in early February 2020 and the CIAA says it will take approximately five months to complete. The work will require the runway to be closed nightly to all aircraft movements between the hours of 10:00pm and 7:00am.

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Category: Business, Transport

Comments (76)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So much you know! I think you will find that the CAA has regulatory authority over the CIAA for all airport and aviation safety matters, including this issue, hence my query as to CAA’s/Richard Smith’s response. How about you get familiar with the facts?

  2. Anonymous says:

    The CAA has regulatory authority over the CIAA for all aviation safety matters, such as this issue, hence my query for CAA’s/Richard Smith’s response. My facts are correct. You clearly don’t know the “facts”.

  3. ppm Distress Signal says:

    Those who sit and believe this unprecedented draining and destruction of our ponds and wetlands for development is not going to have detrimental effects on this little island are either idiots or deliberately ignoring scientific fact.The over development will have many consequences for us all natural and man made. Stop this work permits madness Cayman what ever happen to this ppm government of sunshine good governance transparency and sustainability or was that just bull$#!@ as usual to get Wotes

    • Anonymous says:

      We’ll be just fine without those two mosquito ponds that were attracting bird-strike safety hazards – which necessitated years of thumping bird canons that didn’t repel their settlement. Good riddance if we’re going to be honest.

    • Anonymous says:

      any facts or studies to back up your nonsense?

    • Anonymous says:

      Those are gay ponds, which led to the recent earthquake and will bring Coronavirus to our shores. Fill them in immediately!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Чтоб они не делали, не идут дела. Видно в понедельник их мама родила. 🙈🙉🙊

    Doesn’t matter what they do, nothing goes right, obviously they all were born on Monday. (From the “Island of no luck” song)

    CNS: According to Google Translate, the Russian above says, “So that they do not do things. Seen on Monday, their mother gave birth.” I’m none the wiser. Perhaps someone can supply a better translation.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is an island of bad luck. Nice people live there. But whatever they touch turns into $hit. They pray and cry, still nothing works there. Can’t catch a crocodile and coconut trees don’t grow. Obviously all were born on Monday. They’d better cancel Mondays, but they have no calendars on this island of bad luck.

    • Anonymous says:

      An island of bad luck in the ocean lies
      All draped in lush greenery
      An island of bad luck in the ocean lies
      All draped in lush greenery

      Hapless native people live there.
      Terrible to look at, yet they’re good inside.
      Terrible to look at, yet they’re good inside.
      Hapless native people live there.

      Doesn’t matter what they do, nothing seems to work
      Obviously their mamas gave birth to them on Mondays
      Doesn’t matter what they do, nothing goes all right
      Obviously their mamas gave birth to them on Mondays

      Crocodiles avoid their traps, coconuts don’t grow
      Crying, to their God they pray, bitter tears flow.
      Crying, to their God they pray, bitter tears flow,
      Crocodiles avoid their traps, coconuts don’t grow.

      They don’t look like slackers and could have had a life,
      If only marked all Mondays and cut them with a knife,
      If only marked all Mondays and cut them with a knife,
      They don’t seem like slackers and could have had a life.

      As luck would have it there is no calendar on this island of bad luck,
      Children and adults lives are wasted.
      Children and adults lives are wasted
      There is no calendar on this damned island.

      On this sad occasion from twilight to dawn
      Cry hapless native people cursing their troubles.
      Weep poor wretched souls, cursing their troubles,
      On unknown day [to them], in unknown year.

    • Anonymous says:


  5. Natural Mystic says:

    You absolutely right 7:57am CIAA must be listening to Larry Graham oh what a revelation? getting back to sinkholes 3 main causes two may not apply however when you interrupt or displace the flow of surface water you may cause water to find a new path which does cause sinkholes to form.Will they tell us if an EIA has been done for these natural ponds or shall we assume their only response is to remove the wildlife to make us feel good or make us believe they have done one?

    • Anonymous says:

      Natural or man made Ponds?

    • Anonymous says:

      Those are not natural ponds. They were dug out to remove peat that caused excessive thermals under the approach path. I believe they were dug out in 1978 around the time of Tom Hubble’s crash.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Anytime I need a good laugh I just read the comments on CNS. These are just as good as the ones about Smith Cove.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So what causes this aircraft blast and how come I for one have never heard of such a thing happening to the ORIA as long as it has been in operation? Ashpalt torn up from aircraft blast? Forgive me if i’m skeptical about that statement right after a major earthquake in our region. Keep your eyes and ears open people.

    • Anonymous says:

      A jet blast?
      At a an airport?
      What are the chances?
      One in s million?

      • Anonymous says:

        No need to be snappy. Explain if you’re an expert.

        • Anonymous says:

          Jet aircraft use the airport. A jet works by compressing and pushing back air from the engine – thrust – pushing the engine and the jet attached to it forward. Considerable thrust is needed to move the aircraft from a standing start to a velocity where the air movement over the wings will cause it to lift off the ground. The shorter the runway the more acceleration in a short distance is needed to achieve take off speed. To get that it is common practice for aircraft to stop at the end of the runway, apply brakes, then full throttle, maximising thrust, then release the brakes – bit like a sprinter straining against the blocks and waiting for the gun. That means there will be a huge amount of force in the displaced air pushed back from the engine to generate the thrust – the jet wash. The jet wash will scorch over whatever is immediately behind and below the engine – and the force is massive – consistent with the force need to propel an aircraft weighing nearly 100 tonnes fully fuelled into the air. Bit like your pressure washer can if not used carefully strip the paint off your house or your car rather than just clean it, the jet wash has huge force and its easy to see that it could peel a layer of asphalt that hadn’t hardened or bonded completely to the run way surface off – in just the same way that a pressure washer can peel off paint its cracked and not bonded properly to the underlying surface. Hope that helps.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just because you haven’t heard if it don’t mean this is a first. With only one runway in Cayman and it needing resurfacing it’s hard for little things like this not to happen as we have to keep using the runway the next morning after they paved it at night…

    • Anonymous says:

      You can’t be serious? When a plane takes off they power up the engines. This causes air to blast out of the rear of the engine to push the plane forward.

  8. Anonymous says:

    another civil service explanation that leaves more questions than answers…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Duct tape!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank you CIAA

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for what? For screwing up?

      • Anonymous says:

        6.11 You are idiot! CIA are being honest and transparent to tell public what happen.

      • Anonymous says:

        At 6.11pm I was thanking them for being pro active and protecting the safety of the travelling public by implementing a temporary shutdown in a timely manner.. Thank you because no planes were wrecked , and no one was injured or killed.

  11. Anonymous says:

    In explaining the cause of the damage the CIAA has essentially revealed that, for some reason, the new tarmac on the runway didn’t stand up to expected jet blast. Could it be that the mix was incorrect (perhaps mixed to road standards instead of runway standards), or perhaps it was laid on an improperly prepared bed, or perhaps it was not allowed to cure properly before being exposed to flight operations.

    In any case, it seems like someone made a call to resume normal operations while the new surface was not fit for use. Will CIAA find out who, and take appropriate action? My guess is not and this is all we’ll hear about this!!

    Poor project management – again!! Where is Richard Smith MBE and his CAA with oversight over these kind of f**kups!!

    • Anonymous says:

      To 5.37pm See the comment at 4.47pm. The problem was not the permanent resurfacing; it was a temporary ramp ( meaning that it would be removed when the next adjoining strip is being paved ) used to taper off and leave no sharp edges between one layer and another like you see when roads are being paved but the work is incomplete.

    • Anonymous says:

      I htink you’ll find that its Albert Anderson at the CIAA and not Richard Smith at the CAA who has responsibility for the airport. Get your facts right.

      • Anonymous says:

        But, Richard Smith DOES have over sight on what Albert Anderson is doing at the CIAA. In other words CAA is there to police CIAA amongst lots of others things…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Kyd$30mln is over twice as much as the Usd$12mln that was originally forecast for MoBay Int’l Airport, the only other comparable IDL job in tropics, current redo ongoing til 2021 at some $60mln and counting. We already have an example of why it’s important to get professionals involved from the get-go. I don’t understand how this bid was awarded. Where are the bids published? Why can’t the public review financial contracts that concern them?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Anyone out there know why they’re using tarmac and not concrete?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because concrete lasts too long. Cronies wont have another contract soon enough!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like it was a temporary ramp to bridge two different levels of concrete – avoid a 90 degree edge between new concrete and old, given that they are doing the runway in stages rather than closing it whilst they do the whole thing as a single pour. You do that in concrete and removing the temporary ramp is a work in itself – stripping asphalt way easier – which of course is why it lifted under jet wash!
      Problem being the temporary ramp either hadn’t set or simply wasn’t up to the job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or grass.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Good one.

  15. Anonymous says:

    As usual, there are genuine, physical, technical reasons why things go wrong. But don’t let that stop everyone from hating on the people that make it possible for Cayman to have air transport.

    • Anonymous says:

      Genuine technical reason alright. Like putting temporary paving in place on a run way that won’t withstand jet blast. But like making an umbrella out of paper or repurposing a birthday ballon as a condom. Ever so slightly foreseeable that it’s fundamentally unfit for purpose and won’t work. Sorry if you think holding a professional to the standards of their profession and the necessary job is “hating”.

      • Anonymous says:

        Must be horrible living in your world of darkness.

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t worry, I have a torch!

        • Anonymous says:

          Must be lovely living in your beautiful sunlit world of unicorns, completely devoid of reality.

        • Anonymous says:

          We left home at 6:30 this morning (7:30 your time) with nothing but a hope that our connection would be able to land at GCM. There was nothing on the CIAA website. It would have been nice to know that the runway opened at 7:00.

          • Anonymous says:

            5.42 Did you bother to ask your airline

            • Anonymous says:

              Airlines were confused. No clarity there. Very poor information all around.

            • Anonymous says:

              There should have been something on the CIAA website. Ridiculous. Certainly third world.

            • Anonymous says:

              Yes smart ass. Only info was “on time departure” so we held our breath and went. Extra worry for no reason.

              • Anonymous says:

                to 11.04 So did you bother to ask them , before they took off, if the runway was open or did you rightly assume that it would be hope since the flight was going ahead. In other words I am sure they would only take off if they knew that it would be open.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fun fact it was originally going to be called a brella but the inventor hesitated

      • Anonymous says:

        My comment was aimed at the outrage machine that never turns off. Anything to do with the airport gets the same comments. This has become such a cynical, bitter, angry place to try to live. It’s like the River Styx, with untold souls moaning and wailing reaching to pull you and everyone else down into the soup with them. At this point we could set up a “Cayman Outrage Comment Generator”. Just load the last year’s worth of comments into it and let it rip. “Of course the runway isn’t strong enough for the golf carts from Britannia. Dart won’t buy lighter golf carts because McKeeva is too big for them and the CUC is too busy with its parrot amnesty! Standards in Public Life!!1111!!1 any word Governor Roper?!?!1!1!”

        Seriously people, shit happens, even to runways. When did we forget this?

        South Park said it best:

        Townsfolk: “Rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble!”

        Mayor: “Standing out here yelling ‘rabble rabble rabble’ isn’t going to help anything”

        Jimbo: “But we don’t know what else to do Mayor!”

        Townsfolk: “Rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble!”

        This is why the government ignores public opinion. Because we complain about EVERYTHING! Until the people of Cayman shut up for a while and get on with their lives, the government will never listen on any specific issue. They know they will be shouted down no matter what so they do as they please. Same thing with the public authorities: for a while they lived in fear of bad press, now they accept the inevitability of it and press on with their business. WE are a big part of the problem on this island. Let the airport be an airport, temporary asphalt ramps that need to be redone and all.

        • Stephen W says:

          I think you may be missing the bigger picture here…

          Imagine you were suddenly forced to pay $50k for a brand new car that was not only really worth $25k, but you saw the tires barely had any tread too… handicapped from the start.

          I feel this depicts what we got from the airport deal, albeit this is just from the general backlash I’ve heard and what I’ve seen within the short time it’s been open (flooding, overcrowding, dated design, still no jetways, etc…)

          The government and other ruling entities on this island have shown an extensive track list of disregarding/disrespecting the public’s needs, to take on overpriced AND under functioning projects that don’t contribute to our island the way they’re intended or portrayed (schools, port, etc…).

          They also move sneakily to ensure the money is spent and things are in place before the general public even knows what’s going on, so what can you do but complain?

          Don’t get me wrong, I’d have them out now if I could. Idk why we have to wait for 2021

        • Anonymous says:

          Once you start avoiding the CNS (and Marl Road) comment sections you will find a drastic decrease in the amount of cynicism, bitterness, and anger you experience while living here. Doing so will definitely improve your quality of life.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, everything is wonderful here. We have no problems at all. As the subtle genius would say “fake news”.

            12:09, You must be a developer.

          • Anonymous says:

            I think I will do that. Thanks for the suggestion.

        • Anonymous says:

          Your problem is that you are a typical passive Caymanian who accepts shit.

          I do not accept shit.

          Let the airport be an airport as uncomfortable as it is on weekends during the high tourist season. We can do no better because we are a simple people. I don’t accept this passivity.

          Stand up and be counted.

      • Anonymous says:

        We are truly blessed to have so many know-it-alls in Cayman

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh yes, we accept major screw ups in Cayman. That’s the way we do things.

    • SKEPTICAL says:

      Forget all the speculating – this was a cock up which could have had far worse consequences if any of the debris blown off by the jet blast had hit and injured somebody.
      This was simply a case of total incompetence – now it is a case of people distancing themselves from responsibility, blame, whatever you want to call it.

      • Anonymous says:

        5:59 Or been sucked into the engines? That’s what worries me most. As a former pilot, the one thing you definitely do not want on a runway or taxiway is debris because ‘FOD damage will ruin your whole day’.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like hot air…

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