We relocated a substation from the middle of the aircraft taxiway to enable the airport’s expansion programme. The substation powers associated airfield ground lighting and airport communications.
To maintain safety and quality standards it was crucial to work as part of Manchester Airport’s airfield project management office (PMO), as opposed to working as a contractor working in isolation. We were welcomed into the airport offices to sit alongside the PMO. We had direct day to day contact with the client which enabled more efficient working practises and a direct link to each other to discuss any issues that arose. Our track record of managing electrical networks for the UK’s five busiest airports, along with our second-to-none safety record, gave Manchester Airports Group the confidence to appoint the company to undertake this project.
Delivery and Outcome
This was an immensely complex infrastructure project. Our team demonstrated the full extent of their expertise by successfully delivering the project on time and budget without any serious safety incidents or unscheduled disruptions to airport operations. Relocating the substation has made way for a wider dual parallel taxiway, enabling Manchester Airport to continue their £1 billion transformation programme, to expand the number of taxiways and enable an increase the volume of aircraft traffic and the capacity of the airport. This programme of work strengthens the airport’s role as the UK’s gateway for the north.
Manchester Airport, the third largest airport in the UK, is undertaking a £1billion transformation project to support its ambitious expansion plans. Its owners, Manchester Airports Group, commissioned us to provide vital power infrastructure that will allow it to fulfil those ambitions.
The project will see an expansion to airport terminals, car parks, aircraft stands and air bridges; increasing capacity at the airport and developing world class facilities.
Central to the project was substation B1D, which needed to be relocated to release the capacity in the airport’s taxiway network. The substation was located in the middle of a taxiway, aircraft were only able to move one-in, one-out, creating a bottleneck, which required planes to wait for other planes to taxi through and threatened the future expansion and capacity of the terminal.
The substation relocation enabled the airport to remove the bottleneck, resulting in a smoother flow for aircraft and enabled the airport’s expansion programme.
Moving a substation on a live airfield created a number of complexities.
The project required construction of a brand new airfield substation, requiring underground directional drilling beneath the taxiway, and the transfer of critical electrical infrastructure from the existing substation in the middle of the taxiway. The substation was responsible for powering the associated airfield ground lighting (AGL), for the surrounding taxiways to guide the incoming and outgoing aircraft. It also feeds communications for the airport and included the installation of new high voltage and low voltage cabling works.
The work needed to be completed throughout both day and nights shifts, in the middle of a very busy and operational airport without causing unscheduled disruption to any airport activities. Safety was the absolute priority at all times.
There were planes coming in and going out all day which meant we had to be continuously alert to wingtip clearance regulations, as we were working within a few feet of the tip of the planes’ wings. This also meant that the team had to be extremely vigilant to control all foreign object debris at all times and manage the risks that came with working with electricity, construction and in an airside environment.