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The magnetic North Pole has shifted. In truth, it’s always moving by about 40 miles per year, which doesn’t cause too many problems until you add those 40s up over a long period of time.

A number of airfields name their runways in accordance with their magnetic headings to make it easy for pilots (especially new ones) to identify the runway and properly line up for landing. The numbers of the runways are also designed to work in tandem with magnetic navigation tools and commands.

Normally, there isn’t a need to change the runway for such slight deviations. Most airports tend to focus more on maintaining surfaces and lighting than worrying about small changes to magnetic North.

However, some of the older runways are now left with little choice but to repaint, now that the FAA has deemed it a potential risk to safety. An error in runways can be catastrophic – you only need to look at Comair Flight 5191 as an example.

On the surface, runway painting of that scale looks like a mammoth job with a great deal of disruption attached but with new paint materials and machinery now employed by experts in the field, a great deal of the repainting can be done in very short windows to minimise closures and cost.

“With advanced runway marking techniques and equipment, we can mobilise a team anywhere in the world to work fast, in all weathers and at night when flight times won’t be adversely affected. Fast-drying paint and new equipment designed to apply those markings quickly and accurately can not only rename these runways and improve safety, but also give those older airfields a fresh new look in the process,” explained Nick Morley, Managing Director of Roadgrip’s Runway division.

Roadgrip has been working closely with airports around the world for the past decade and is trusted by over 300 airfields for friction testing, runway painting, surface preparation and rubber removal.

If you would like to discuss runway repainting with the UK or global teams, please get in touch.