No, it’s not an attempt to make airports seem more like sport stadiums; artificial turf is being used on tarmacs at airports around the country because it is easier and less expensive to maintain that the real green stuff. Baltimore/Washington is the latest airport to green its tarmac, joining other major hubs like New York’s John F. Kennedy, Atlanta, Detroit, Boston, Toronto, Chicago Midway and Chicago O’Hare.
Artificial turf is ideal for unpaved areas near the tarmac as regular grass and soil often hide foreign debris that can cause safety hazards if it makes its way onto the runway. The two types approved by the FAA are AvTurf and Airfieldturf, and they aren’t just being used for the runway; it’s also replacing the painted green and yellow X signs used to help pilots figure out which taxiways are open. At night, painted asphalt can be difficult to see and the paint wears away more easily than the durable artificial turf. What’s next? Artificial green stuff in the security line?