Will yet another Edinburgh Airport runway repairs closure be the last? - Alastair Dalton

Take offs and landings at Scotland’s busiest terminal suspended for fifth time in nine months

With Edinburgh Airport’s runway regarded as one of Scotland’s single most valuable economic assets, it’s not surprising its operator is very sensitive to anyone casting aspersions.

The airport certainly provided a robust response to a story I wrote last October after the runway had closed for emergency patching work three times in three weeks.

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The concerns I reported came from a very senior aviation source, whose airline is a major user of the airport. They feared there was an increased risk of further closures because of the state of the runway.

But the airport told me at the time there were “no issues with our taxiways or the runway”.

Then in February, its chief executive Gordon Dewar told the airport’s consultative committee the story was a “spurious piece of reporting, driven by somebody who didn’t have a clue what they were talking about.

“While it is coming to end of life and naturally needs a bit more maintenance than brand new, there is nothing at all to worry about with our runway other than the occasional annoyance where we do have to patch it, but that is fairly standard.”

Last month, there was another “small breakup”, with two flights diverted, then last Thursday, a further “small breakup” - the fifth in nine months, with arrivals and departures suspended again.

The runway is due to be resurfaced at the end of next year at a cost of £20 million and scheduled to be completed in March 2026.

Meantime, the airport is adamant it is on top of things and said few flights had been disrupted during the closures so far.

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But they appear to be becoming more frequent, and happening more often than at other airports - just as Edinburgh is gearing up for the peak summer season when it expects to handle a record number of passengers.

The baggage woes which have dogged the airport over the last two summers have been attributed to airlines’ handling agents and delays at other airports,

But the runway is the airport’s direct responsibility and an emergency closure will be the last thing it would want to see repeated.

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