Airfield uses of asphalt
Most of the world’s paved roads are surfaced with asphalt, which gives good performance and durability under the most heavily trafficked conditions. Asphalt mixes are also widely used in the construction of hard standing and parking areas for both light and heavy vehicles. They are therefore eminently suitable for use in the construction and surfacing of access roads, perimeter roads and vehicle parking areas on airfields.
Asphalts give good performance and durability under the wide range of climatic and traffic conditions. More and more often asphalts are used for industrial areas or for specific applications, such as base courses for railway tracks. Asphalt is also widely used in airport construction, although this usage is not always recognised.
A majority of airports are constructed with asphalt pavement. In airports, there are different areas such as runways, taxiways, aprons and parking areas. For each, the required specifications could be different particularly for surface courses. For parking and aprons, good resistance is needed to puncturing, to fuel and to chemical agents. For other surfaces, a good skid resistance is necessary. Asphalt mixes provide the answer to these various requirements.
In addition to these uses, asphalt mixes are widely employed in the surfacing of runways and aircraft handling areas on a wide range of airfields, from international airports regularly used by the heaviest airliners, through military airfields carrying high performance jet aircraft and the smaller domestic airfields regularly used by light or medium-sized aircraft to the smallest private airfield used by light single or twin-seat aircraft.
In Europe, the construction and surfacing of military airfields is the responsibility of the each nation’s Ministry of Defence, whilst responsibility for the civil airports usually rests with the civil or municipal aviation authorities. These organisations often have their own standard specifications for this type of work.