Innovation at East midlands airport
G4S, the world’s leading security company, has played a key role in a runway resurfacing project at East Midlands Airport near Derby (UK), by developing innovative new technology for controlling access to the works site.
In a UK first, the runway was closed each weekend during the project, rather than in short bursts each night. This allowed contractor Galliford Try to relay 13,000 tonnes of tarmac during each closure, along the entire 1.8-mile runway and replace over 1,200 lights in extended working periods. This reduced what would usually have been a six month project to seven weeks, however it also presented a significant challenge in achieving security clearance for over 700 contractors and approximately 7,000 vehicle movements each weekend.
G4S developed a technical security solution which enabled the identification of contractors up to nine metres away, allowing the fast through-put of construction workers who could remain in their vehicles. Using ultra-high frequency monitoring technology linked to a long range radio frequency identification system, software recorded detailed information on workers with site access, allowing quick head-count checks.
G4S also installed a wireless IP network across the site, linking handheld readers and an integrated number plate recognition system that logged all vehicle movements.
Commenting on the project, Iain Dean, G4S Contract Manager, said:
“Time was a massive factor for us – if we couldn’t get the people and vehicles moving through quickly enough, the whole project was at risk.
“Each weekend, there were thousands of movements each hour, and the onus was on us to find a way to bring them in and out as fast as we could while maintaining the security of the site.
“The system lends itself to difficult sites that require a lot of through traffic, and there are potentially a great deal of future opportunities for this technology.”
As the project began, the security team had a 24/7 presence, guarding a large works site next to the runway containing construction vehicles and equipment, plant machinery and around a million pounds’ worth of cables.
At 8pm each Saturday the airport handed the runway over to the project team and the team would oversee the movement of hundreds of contractors and vehicles to carry out the work. Then, at 8pm on Monday, the runway would revert back to the airport’s security team.
East Midlands Airport managing director Andy Cliffe said: “We’re delighted with the outcome of this UK first project. Completing a challenging programme with particular operational and security requirements is a remarkable achievement and testament to the great collaboration and innovative approach from all parties involved."