Landing surface fit for presidents

Teaming up around tightly scheduled works to upgrade the runway taxiways and apron at Cornwall Newquay Airport, Aggregate Industries and Nynas had to overcome challenging logistical issues. A close working partnership between them saw the project safely landed on time.


Newquay airport needed an urgent upgrade ahead of the G7 Summit in June 2021.


Good cooperation between the site team, Aggregate Industries and Nynas ensured that 410 tonnes of Nypol 77 were delivered.


The resurfacing work progressed smoothly and according to its tight schedule.

In June 2021, when world leaders descended on Cornwall for the 47th G7 Summit they touched down on a resurfaced runway, upgraded to comply with strict defence specifications. The building materials specialist Aggregate Industries had successfully delivered its DIO49 stone mastic asphalt (SMA) made with Nypol 77 bitumen from Nynas.

The upgrade works at Cornwall’s Newquay Airport ahead of the G7 Summit had been awarded a £7.8 million grant from the British government after a report by the local council concluded that the airport could not support the needs of the aircraft types expected to arrive for the G7 Summit.

Appointed by Cormac Solutions Ltd, Aggregate Industries provided their stone mastic asphalt DIO49 designed to meet specifications for defence infrastructure. The specialised asphalt was used to improve the airport’s aprons and taxiways, as well as side and access roads.

Faced with several logistical challenges, the project also had to be finalised in an unusually short timeframe, and as the company had not produced the highspec airport asphalt since 2012 a series of mix and cold feed trials had to be conducted before the product could be sampled and tested at the company’s R&D laboratory. Normally, such a process would take about eight weeks, but as time was running short, it was fast-tracked, enabling approval in less than two weeks.

“We also had to supply a larger tonnage in a shorter time than normal,” says Julian Gwyn-Jones, manager at Aggregate Industries’ Melbur plant, who was overseeing the smooth running of operations.

Adding to these challenges, the airport reopened, following a 12-month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, on the same day Aggregate Industries started to supply asphalt to the site. Manoeuvring around this and ensuring that the project was delivered as planned, Julian Gwyn-Jones had to make sure that the site team had access to exactly the right amounts of materials each day. This meant keeping in close contact with suppliers, and a good working partnership with suppliers was particularly important in the case of Nynas.

“We only had a very small bitumen tank available on the site. This meant that the deliveries had to be very exact as far as both volume and time,” explains Julian Gwyn-Jones.

To keep the project progressing on-time, Nynas often had to deliver up to three tanker loads a day. A week of unscheduled nightwork put everyone under extra pressure. Whether during the day or at night, Nynas supplied around 410 tonnes of Nypol 77, mostly in loads of 20 tonnes. The fact that the site was located some 500 kilometres from the refinery obviously added to the complexity.

However, by collaborating closely, Aggregate Industries and Nynas were able to keep the bitumen deliveries at pace with the work at the airport during a six-week period. The airport was ready in time for the arrival of the politicians and their respective entourages. The success of the project a clear testament to the good communication between the organisations involved.

“The service we get from Nynas is always very good, and this project shows what can be achieved through good collaboration,” says Julian Gwyn-Jones.

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