City Airport, Manchester (not to be confused with the city's Ringway Airport) features all-grass runways for light aircraft, meaning that the surfaces are subject to heavy loading and high wear and tear.
Airport Facilities Manager Lee Pattison began a programme of improvement when he joined in 2014 and needed to establish a harder-wearing surface.
“All my predecessors seem to have only ever done was mow the grass,” said Lee. "The Head Groundsman at Salford City Stadium put me in touch with Campeys machinery dealer, who in turn advised me to speak with John Hughes at DLF with regard to the grass."
DLF's John Hughes advised that Pro Master 80 grass seed, which is used for rapid establishment and wear tolerance, would be the most suitable mixture for this unique requirement.
The first area to be tackled was a taxiway, that was subjected to a lot of wear and tear. This was made into a test plot.
Contractors Pugh Lewis started with a stone burier to churn up the ground before levelling it, rolling it and then seeding. Lee was nervous, as this area was in poor condition, but the seed germinated well and evolved into the best grassed area on the whole airfield.
At the end of the first quarter of 201, attention moved to two areas of the extension runway, on which planes would actually land. As there are two runways parallel to one another, one had to be closed while the work was carried out.
The Airport is confident that the grass will be as successfully established on this high activity area, but will allow 2-3 months before re-opening it. In 2016 it is planned to sow a whole runway or a larger part of the runway.
All at the Airport were as pleased as Lee with the result of the demonstration area, especially the Operations Manager, and are looking forward to as good a result on the part of the runway currently in renovation.