Amid recent concerns, both Heathrow and Gatwick airports have confirmed their diligent monitoring of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) found within their facilities. The discovery of this porous concrete has garnered attention due to potential stability issues, notably linked to recent school closures.
Heathrow, which identified RAAC at Terminal 3 last year, has taken proactive measures to ensure safety until a permanent solution is implemented. A Heathrow spokesperson emphasized their unwavering commitment to passenger. Staff safety, stating, “Like many in the industry, we continuously assess our facilities to maintain the highest safety standards.”
In contrast, Gatwick’s routine inspections have not raised any concerns. The most recent examination in June 2023 found no issues. A representative from Gatwick assured the public, saying, “We maintain meticulous records of RAAC locations within the airport premises, all of which are subject to rigorous structural inspections.”
However, it’s essential to consider the broader context. RAAC has become a focal point in political debates as the government grapples with its potential risks in public buildings, including critical infrastructure such as hospitals, courts, and prisons.
Responding to mounting concerns, Heathrow reviewed its RAAC management plans. However, there has been no change in their approach. While Gatwick has chosen not to disclose specific RAAC locations, the airport remains confident in its safety protocols. Additionally, a spokesperson for the Manchester Airports Group confirmed no current evidence of RAAC in their buildings. But stressed the importance of ongoing checks for added assurance.
Experts have weighed in on the issue, highlighting that the primary risk lies in poorly maintained buildings. Professor Chris Goodier of Loughborough University emphasized that airports, equipped with robust maintenance teams and budgets, are unlikely to face significant RAAC related challenges. “Airports cannot afford shutdowns, so they allocate resources appropriately,” he asserted.
With a growing understanding of RAAC’s implications, both Heathrow and Gatwick airports continue their rigorous monitoring. Ensuring that safety remains their unwavering priority.