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De-icing - Articles and news items

Winter Operations supplement

Issue 1 2016, Supplements  •  26 January 2016  •  International Airport Review

Featuring articles from the Met Office, Warsaw Chopin Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport...

More than just Scotch mist

Issue 6 2012  •  7 December 2012  •  Mark Stuart, Director of Operations at Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd

In the last few years the UK has experienced winter weather conditions more akin to the Arctic, with sub-zero temperatures and extremes of weather that have tested the transport system to its limits. With Scotland often bearing the brunt, regional airport operator HIAL has developed innovative ways to keep passengers flying, even in the harshest conditions.Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL), a publicly owned airport operator accountable to Scottish Ministers, is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of 11 regional airports across Scotland. In 2011/12, the group handled 1.26 million passengers, an increase of 8.7 per cent on the previous year. The busiest airport in the group, Inverness, handled more than 607,000 passengers, an increase of 12.8 per cent.In addition to operating Inverness Airport, the gateway to one of Scotland’s fastest growing cities, HIAL is also responsible for ensuring that lifeline links are maintained through the operation of airports in remote locations across the Scottish Highlands and Islands; from Campbeltown in Argyll to Wick John O’Groats, the most northerly airport on the UK mainland, and the island airports of Stornoway, Benbecula, Kirkwall and Sumburgh, as well as the world famous beach landing strip at Barra in the Western Isles. HIAL also operates Dundee Airport at Scotland’s fourth largest city.

Coping in the Alps

Issue 5 2012  •  2 October 2012  •  Nicolas Karres, Head of Ramp Services at Salzburg Airport

Salzburg Airport is situated in the heart of Europe and is often referred to as the ‘gateway to the Alps’. Due to its location, only 4km from the city of Salzburg and close to the main skiing resorts in the area, the airport’s high season lasts from the end of December until the end of March.A challenge every year: For Salzburg Airport, snowy and icy conditions represent an incredible logistical and organisational challenge. Salzburg usually handles an average of 3,500 to 4,000 passengers a day during the summer, autumn and spring periods. However, during the winter and specifically on Saturdays, we will handle over 30,000 passengers. Saturdays are commonly the days when hotels in the area ‘refresh’ their intake of guests, meaning that flight movements on these days are particularly busy.The winter outlook: ‘Safety first’ is more than a slogan at Salzburg Airport, it is something that everyone who works at the airport lives up to. More than 50 employees ensure that the runway, the taxiways, the apron as well as any depository areas are free of ice and snow.

Trondheim’s snow and ice tactics

Issue 4 2012  •  3 August 2012  •  Per Jarle Ingstad, Operational Director, Trondheim Airport, Værnes, Avinor AS

Norway is well known for its wintery weather however these types of conditions are rarely a problem for us here at Trondheim Airport. It is a constantly changing and fluctuating winter pattern that creates the greatest challenges. This places greater demands on both personnel and equipment at the airport which can have an effect on flight movements.We have a proactive approach to our winter operations. We work closely with the airlines and the handling companies to achieve the following priorities; safety, punctuality and the environmental effect. By targeting investment in proper equipment and training we have shown that it is possible to deal with the winter conditions effectively and efficiently. Trondheim AirportTrondheim Airport is Norway’s third busiest airport and the northern most international hub in the country and possibly in Europe. There are approximately 55,000 flight movements during the year. The airport is situated in the middle of Norway not too far from the Arctic Circle. This, combined with its location close to sea, creates an unpredictable weather pattern. Snow, rain, strong cross winds and a changing temperature creates a number of challenges for our personnel and, of course, pilots.

Being prepared for the worst

Issue 6 2011  •  8 December 2011  •  Rob Cooke, Head of Airfield Operations at Birmingham Airport

It is inevitable that adverse weather conditions at airports will lead to operational restrictions on airfields and will often lead to disruption to aircraft operations. This was witnessed during December 2011 when the world looked on as UK aviation was severely affected by freezing conditions and heavy snowfall. However, at Birmingham Airport this operational impact was not as bad as some other major UK airports. This was mainly due to our investment in new equipment and our ongoing commitment to plan and exercise for adverse weather events. Nevertheless, the bad weather did force us to close the runway on four occasions, totalling slightly less than 16 hours with less than eight hours occurring during our core operational hours (06:00 and 22:00).Winters in the UK are variable so all airports can do is prepare, train and test. Until snow falls it is difficult to know what the full extent of the impact will be. Conditions can vary so any disruption will depend on the amount of snow, duration of snowfall and the temperature and conditions on the ground before it starts to fall. Whilst we make every reasonable effort to clear snow and ice from airside areas, it is a lengthy process, especially when there is a persistent snowfall – as soon as you have completed a sweep of the runway it is covered again and the process has to be repeated. Unlike landside areas, rock salt cannot be used on the runway or taxiways to treat areas in advance of forecast ice or snowfall, and if there is just four inches of snowfall at Birmingham Airport, some 20,000 tonnes of snow will need to be cleared.

Let it snow

Issue 5 2011  •  5 October 2011  •  Hanspeter Moll, Head of Airfield Maintenance and Winter Operations, Zurich Airport

In over 60 years of operation, Zurich Airport has never had to be closed down because of snow – a fact the airport is immensely proud of. Last year Several European airports fought harsh winter weather conditions and some hubs – such as Frankfurt and London Heathrow – had to temporarily halt operations or close down completely.As a consequence, aircrafts had to divert to Zurich Airport as their alternate airport, demanding high flexibility from all airport partners involved. While ground staff were facing stressful and hectic times, airplane spotters cheered! Numerous aircraft diversions brought unique photo opportunities and rare guests to Zurich, such as an additional Airbus A380 from Singapore Airlines that had to divert to Zurich from London Heathrow.What distinguishes Zurich Airport from other European airports? Why is snow not a reason for the declaration of a state of emergency? The answer is a combination of several factors: An experienced crew, excellent equipment, a reliable alarm and first response system, regular training and tremendous commitment.

Frankfurt weathers the winter challenge

Issue 1 2011  •  26 January 2011  •  Robert A. Payne, International Press Manager, Fraport AG

The winter weather challenges of 2010, at the beginning and towards the end of the year, further exasperated an already turbulent year in European aviation. At Frankfurt Airport, aircraft movements grew by only 0.3 percent in 2010 to 464,432 takeoffs and landings.This modest increase can be attributed to the numerous air traffic disruptions, including weather disturbances in Germany and the rest of Europe. Thus, FRA registered a total of 22,000 flight cancellations throughout 2010 – 15,000 more than the annual average during the past decade – which corresponds to an estimated loss of 1.4 million passengers. Accumulated maximum takeoff weights (MTOWs) at FRA amounted to 27,963,744 metric tons from January to December 2010, a 2.9 percent rise year-on-year.

A winter day at Zurich Airport

Issue 4 2009, Past issues  •  16 July 2009  •  Urs Haldimann, Deputy Head Airport Operations & Head De-icing Coordination, Unique (Flughafen Zurich AG)

During the mid-90's, the planning of the new Midfield Terminal started and during the planning process the idea was born to create two de-icing pads, allowing a remote treatment of the aircraft, replacing the difficult to handle and more time consuming on-stand process. As a requirement for this so-called "fifth expansion phase" of the airport's infrastructure, the authorities demanded the correct treatment of all the de-icing sewage, according to environmental rules, before the new facilities could be opened.

Deicing at Denver International Airport

Issue 1 2009, Past issues  •  7 February 2009  •  Keith D. Pass, Environmental Programme Administrator, Denver International Airport

As the newest major international hub airport in the United States, Denver International Airport (DEN) has benefitted from its planners' foresight in acquiring enough land (53 square miles) to allow ample room for future growth. When developing both the airport's design and layout, DEN's planners also made sure to incorporate the lessons learned at Denver's previous airport, Stapleton International. One of the main areas of focus was ensuring that the new ‘mile high' airport would have concentrated deicing operations near runways, so that DEN could contain spent aircraft deicing fluid (ADF) and also maintain safe and efficient aircraft traffic flow. Efforts made at the design stage have allowed Denver International Airport to become one of the earliest proponents and practitioners of environmentally friendly aircraft deicing.

When wings won’t fly

Issue 6 2007, Past issues  •  30 November 2007  •  Marcia K. Politovich, National Centre for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

The wings of an aircraft are carefully designed to provide the lift needed to fly. The shape of the wing must be aerodynamically efficient and the surface should be smooth to allow air to flow effortlessly around it. However, prior to and during flight, atmospheric phenomena work to reshape and re-texture those wings. These phenomena create potentially hazardous icing conditions by which ice builds on the wings and degrades their performance. Aircraft icing researchers have applied their scientific and engineering expertise to develop new products, to allow the flying public to avoid the potentially hazardous consequences of icy wings.


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