Kjevik goes ahead with pioneer project

Kristiansand Airport Kjevik will be Norway’s first airport with a safety system that in a controlled manner will be able to stop aircraft that for various reasons are unable to stop before reaching the end of the runway.

On the eve of 3 July work started on establishing the actual EMAS (Engineered Material Arresting System) at Kjevik. The system consists of a network of blocks.  These collapse and halt the aircraft if it proceeds beyond the end of the runway—thus preventing a potentially hazardous situation.

“Simply put, the system ensures that passengers don’t come to harm and that the aircraft can be towed away and put into traffic again relatively quickly,” says project manager Lars Hegle.

In the USA, where the system has been installed at more than 70 airports, EMAS has prevented accidents several times. At JFK International Airport in New York alone, three aircraft have been stopped by the system in the past ten years, after failing to stop before reaching the end of the runway. It is in only very rare cases that aircraft fail to stop before reaching the end of the runway.

The investment in EMAS also has an environmental aspect.

“If we were to extend the runway in the ordinary manner, we would come into conflict with vulnerable marine environments at both ends of the runway. We therefore took the initiative to look at alternative solutions that also satisfy requirements towards safety,” says airport manager Thomas Langeland.

The runway at Kjevik currently has a length of approximately 1900 metres, and EMAS ensures that both current and future air traffic at the airport can operate in accordance with relevant safety regulations.

EMAS will be deployed at a length of 90 metres at each end of the runway.

“We will initially deploy the system at the southern end, and in the autumn the system will be installed at the northern end too,” Hegle says.

EMAS costs between NOK 70 and 80 million to install and is part of the comprehensive work on a new safety area and lighting system at Kristiansand Airport Kjevik. There are currently no plans to invest in EMAS at other airports.

Posted in Airports, News, Safety

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