Frequently Asked Questions

How thick does airport pavement need to be?

The thickness of pavement required for an airport can vary based on pavement use, traffic weight, traffic frequency, soil conditions, climate, and whether the pavement type is rigid or flexible material. Rigid pavements (constructed with concrete) for most general aviation airports will require a minimum pavement layer thickness of six inches. For commercial service airports, however, it’s not uncommon to have rigid pavement layers closer to sixteen to eighteen inches thick. The greater the loading, the thicker the rigid pavement section that will be required. Flexible pavement (constructed with asphalt) can require as little as three inches of thickness depending on the level of traffic, but flexible pavement sections distribute wheel loading differently than rigid pavement sections. The greater the loading on flexible pavement, the greater the thickness of the base course and subbase course layers beneath the asphalt pavement layer will need to be in order to in order to effectively distribute the wheel loads. For more information on airport pavement design, refer to FAA Advisory Circular 150/5320-6 Pavement Design.