What environmental factors are considered when a new runway construction is planned (e.g. winds, weather, sun direction, etc.)?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ They look for a spot where there are as many spotted owls as possible. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 17:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Have you seen this question? It might answer your question, at least partly. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 19:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Section 17 of this book is related to environmental topics in relation with the airport construction / extension. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 21:18

2 Answers 2


First, wind rose data, unless you built the airport in the early 20th century without weather data.

enter image description here
By BREEZE Software (http://www.breeze-software.com/) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It's nice to check old airports and see how they evolved over time. In the past they usually built three runways, each separated by 60 degrees in direction, to cover the compass. Over time some are lengthened, others demolished, more are added in the favorable direction, and so on. Nice example is KORD if you want to hunt the history on your own.

Example of runway closure: Why did the north / south runways close at Daugherty Field (KLGB)?

For a commercial airport expecting long haul jets, you need a long runway, to bring down civil works cost you need to find a place with a relatively flat terrain that would house said long runway.

Airport's elevation also plays a factor to runway length. The higher the airport, the longer the runways need to be. Surrounding terrain also is important. Unless you can build an island: VHHH.

For sun direction, engineers recommend Ray Bans, since the Earth spins.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Sun direction doesn't make a difference for the runways but it can be a factor in locating the control tower on the field. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 12:41

Runway Orientation. The runway to be constructed shall be oriented that the approach/departure zone will be free from any fixed obstacle (i.e. buildings, mountains, railroads) penetrating the approach/departure area and as far as practicable away from populous area. The prevailing wind directions shall also be considered.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This looks like it has been lifted by some other source. Would you mind providing the source? $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 12:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's just common sense. I feel this is not so useful answer but i think it is a valid one. $\endgroup$
    – vasin1987
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ ICAO Airport Master Plan Manual $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 0:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .