Airport owners and operators are looking forward to improved predictability of pavement life and optimisation of pavement usage, including being able to better prioritise and optimise inspection and maintenance planning for their pavements. This will happen when the ACR-PCR (Aircraft Classification Rating – Pavement Classification Rating) system will replace the outdated ACN-PCN (Aircraft Classification Number – Pavement Classification Number) system.
The Aircraft Classification Rating and Pavement Classification Rating are two different classifications used in aviation to determine how suitable an aircraft is for a particular type of pavement or runway surface. By doing so the airport experience can be influenced by these ratings as they impact the types of aircraft that can operate at an airport and the conditions in which they can do so safely.
The ACR-PCR system gives a more accurate evaluation of the bearing strength of airport pavements and has been adopted by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), which is the regulator for global aviation. By doing so, it will become applicable in November 2024. Airports will now need to publish the Pavement Classification Ratings (PCR) for all airport pavements in the AIP (Aerodrome Information Publication). Adopting this system will entail assessing traffic, evaluating pavements and establishing the PCR for the airport pavements.
The ACR and PCR ratings determine the sizes and types of aircraft which can operate at an airport. Airports with higher ACR and PCR ratings can accommodate larger and heavier aircraft, which may lead to a wider variety of airlines and flight options for passengers.
The PCR rating provides information about the strength and load-bearing capacity of the runway surface. Where there are higher PCR ratings it shows stronger runways that can handle heavier aircraft and withstand more significant loads. The effect of this is smoother takeoffs, landings, and taxiing, so that there is a more comfortable experience for passengers.
The ACR and PCR ratings are such that they ensure safe aircraft operations. When the ACR of an aircraft is matched with the PCR of a runway, airports can make sure that aircraft can operate within the limits specified of the pavement. This gives greater assurance over activities to guard against accidents, runway damage, and enhances overall safety for passengers and crew.
Another is that ACR and PCR ratings also influence airport infrastructure development plans. This then requires that airports upgrade runways, taxiways and aprons to make room for larger aircraft with higher ACR ratings. As such there is a move towards improvements in airport facilities like, expanded terminals, increased car park spaces and enhanced passenger activities. The effect of this is that airports in their budgets for the new year should take time to give very serious consideration to infrastructure development plans in line with the new rating system.
So, having the ACR and PCR ratings is what airports should look forward to, making sure it is in place for all airports going into the new year. It plays a crucial role in determining aircraft suitability for different runway surfaces and influencing the airport experience. As a result there is a move towards safe operations, which allows for the use of larger aircraft, adds to smoother runway conditions, and influences airport infrastructure development.