The Calm before the storm - At Jamaica’s Airports, even the Lighting is laid back
Hurricane season can no longer dampen the performance of the apron lighting at two of Jamaica’s largest airports.
Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport and The Sir Donald Sangster International Airport have recently completed installations of Abacus Lighting’s 25m high base-hinged masts and floodlights on the aircraft parking aprons.
The Abacus raising and lowering system provides safe and controlled lowering of the masts via a hydraulic counterbalance. The masts can be hinged down to ground level when a storm warning is received, avoiding costly damage to masts and floodlights. The system also allows essential maintenance work to be carried out at ground level, improving health and safety conditions.
Although the Caribbean is at risk from hurricanes, the base-hinged masts are designed for normal, everyday wind speeds of 40-45 metres per second. If they were to remain vertical at all times, they would have to be designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 72 metres per second.
Hence they would have to be much stronger with thicker steel fabrications and would be far more expensive to manufacture than the hinged alternative
Following the 1994 onslaught of Hurricane Ivan, Norman Manley Airport was cut off from the rest of Jamaica as the road was un-passable. The Government even considered suggestions that the airport should be relocated to Vernamfield in Clarendon because its current location is a disaster-prone area. Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport links Jamaica’s capital to many worldwide destinations. Located on the Palisadoes peninsula in south-east Jamaica, it is approximately 30 minutes away from the main business district of New Kingston.
Because of its convenient location, the airport is a major business passenger carrier and is also responsible for a major portion of the air cargo entering Jamaica from abroad. The airport handled 1.6 million travellers in 2005 and expects 1.9 million passengers by 2013 and 2.5 million by the year 2022.
The Sir Donald Sangster International Airport is the largest international airport in Jamaica and serves the popular Montego Bay, Jamaica's second largest city.
Abacus’ Exports Sales Director, John Anthony, said: "The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority are satisfied that they now have an easily protected, maintainable airfield lighting system in place at both of the country’s main airports. The base-hinged masts are extremely practical in this part of the world, and not just for airports". Abacus has recently installed floodlighting at Stanford Cricket Stadium in Antigua. The masts are designed to be lowered down during hurricane periods in the same manner as the airport apron installations in Jamaica. This Cricket Stadium recently hosted the inaugural day/night Stanford Caribbean Nations 20-20 competition.
In the Caribbean region so far this year, Abacus has received new orders for two stadiums in the Grand Cayman Isles using the same hinging principle during hurricane periods. John added: Grand Cayman suffered massive infrastructure damage during hurricane Ivan which included numerous stadium floodlighting masts being blown down with floodlighting systems damaged beyond repair. This will now be avoided with the Abacus hinged system in place.