MELBOURNE, Florida — It’s a major undertaking to close, reconstruct and re-open all three runways in succession at an international airport, and probably not for the faint of heart.
“But it was necessary and our team was up to the challenge,” said Greg Donovan, A.A.E., executive director of Orlando Melbourne International Airport (KMLB).
It’s been almost 25 years since the airport’s three runways were resurfaced. The usual protocol is to stagger significant airfield projects months or years apart, but that wasn’t an option at KMLB. With more than 200 commercial aircraft and 1,900 general aviation operations each week, the growing airport needed to move forward quickly. Fortunately, the Florida Department of Transportation recognized the need and provided half of the funds for the initial project.
“We’re proud to report that the first runway, 9L/27R was completed on time and under budget,” Donovan reported at the dedication of the 6,000′ runway, used primarily by general aviation aircraft, including Embraer Executive Jets which assembles its Phenom and Legacy business jets airside at MLB. An Embraer Phenom 300 marked the occasion with a celebratory takeoff.
The renovations include complete removal and replacement of the concrete and paving, new runway markings, upgraded electronics, lighting and new signage.
A budget of $3.5 million was approved by the Melbourne Airport Authority a year ago. The project came in under budget by $57,909.
Next, the airport will tackle its 3,001′ Runway 5/23, then its main runway, 9R/27L which at 10,181′ is nearly two miles long. Expected completion date for those projects in mid-June 2018.