"They're not really 'runways'. They're catapult configured tractor beam arrays that we use to accelerate strike craft for launch and recovery. In a standard atmosphere, the fighters would very easily be going supersonic (and then some) due to the acceleration we give them. The pilot doesn't really feel that thanks to their IC rig, but we can save eardrums and spare thermal damage by doing it out in the vac. Even with the added bonus of ramscoops, for small ships with limited propellant, any 'free' delta V we can impart equates to gas they can use to fight, and still have plenty left for rendezvous and recovery."
-Camilla Egans, Tractor Beam Techician 'Airdale', TCS Concordia