If you or someone you know is flying into or out of the Portland International Jetport this spring, you may want to keep reading and also keep an eye on itineraries.
From April 18 at 8:00 a.m. to June 13 at 5:45 a.m., the main runway at the Jetport, which runs East-West, will be closed for a $13.7 million major overhaul, including the installation of LED lighting.
More than 5,000 flights will be impacted in some small or major way as air traffic at the Jetport shifts entirely to an alternate runway that runs North-South and a complete closure of both runways occurs from 10:30 p.m. to 5:45 a.m. for about a month of construction during which the intersection of the two runways will be worked on.
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During a Wednesday interview with NECN/NBC 10 Boston, the Assistant Airport Director for the Portland Jetport said that because of the overnight closures “some passengers that have already booked a flight into May” are perhaps on “a placeholder flight to take bookings.”
“You’re probably going to get a flight notification moving your flight up a couple hours,” Zachary Sundquist added, explaining that airlines will soon review schedules to accommodate the overnight shutdowns -- if they are not adjusting them already.
Sundquist also said that airlines have worked with Jetport officials for about a year in order to adjust their fleets and operating plans for the expected changes.
In terms of when a flight may end up cancelled or significantly delayed because of the construction, Sundquist said that would likely be an exceptional circumstance that would only happen if a plane was unable to land at the Jetport by the 10:30 p.m. closure time during the intersection work.
As far as other significant impacts go, Sunquist believes that people living near the path of the Jetport’s North-South runway traffic who are accustomed to a small amount of aircraft noise may hear significantly more from planes as “100 percent” of the traffic is re-routed onto those flight paths from for months.
Despite the inconveniences, Sundquist says the runway rehabilitation is essential to maintaining safe operations at New England’s fourth-busiest airport.
April is traditionally the earliest this type of construction can happen after winter in Maine, and the runway needs essential fixes after 18 years of use, even with routine maintenance.
“The runway’s in great shape right now and that’s when you want to replace it, before it starts to fail,” he said, adding that “a runway failure would mean a lot of flight cancellations and a very expensive emergency fix.”