Changi Airport’s turfed areas in the airfield spanning Runways 1, 2 and 3 is the size of around 1,000 standard football fields
In the airfield, other than paved runways, taxiways and aircraft parking aprons, the grounds around aircraft movement areas have to be obstacle-free for safety purposes. These grounds are planted with selective species of turf to avoid soil erosion, that could stir up loose particles under weather and jet blast conditions which could harm aircraft engines in operation. The grassy grounds also help to provide a cushion in the rare event of an aircraft excursion and serve as a channel for absorbing surface water run-off during a storm as well as attenuate noise of aircraft bouncing off the terrain.
One concern regarding these vast, grassy grounds is that they can potentially attract wildlife such as birds or small animals which can pose danger to aircraft. From experience, the grass in the airfield needs to be kept at an optimal height because shorter grass may draw birds to spot prey from the air while longer grass could become a sanctuary encouraging wildlife to hide.
Conventionally, the only way to maintain the grass height is for contractors to cut them regularly, coordinating with air traffic control in real time in case big grass-cutting machines driven by workers need to go near aircraft movement areas. After the cutting is done, the loose grass blades have to be collected in bags manually or through a man-driven mechanical collector, to prevent them from being blown by the wind around the airfield into aircraft engines.