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Weather Technology - Articles and news items

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.

Technology vs the elements

Issue 2 2012  •  28 March 2012  •  Joshua Paurus, Duty Manager, Airside Operations at Minneapolis–St Paul International Airport

People, process and technology are all part of an effective winter opera - tions strategy. The extent that each component is successfully integrated with the others plays a large role in influencing the outcome of a winter operations event. At Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport (MSP) we have a history of refining these components over the years. With approximately 1,200 operations to and from 135 destinations daily, MSP ranks amongst the busiest airports in the world. This level of activity combined with an average annual snowfall of approximately 50 inches provides us with ample opportunities to test our winter operations skills.In addition to dedicated, experienced personnel and proven processes, MSP’s Airside Operations department utilises numerous technology tools. These range from systems for current and forecasted weather conditions, aircraft and vehicle tracking, surface condition sensors, runway friction management and more. We have a history of partnering with vendors early in the development of products, not only to meet our needs, but also the needs of other airports. This ongoing commitment to up-front input and effective partnerships results in us having the technology we need to make sound decisions and develop effective management processes.Perhaps the best way to describe some of these tools and their benefit to MSP is to take you through a hypothetical winter storm experience.

Forecasting for efficiency

Issue 1 2012  •  7 February 2012  •  David Gibbs, Aviation Business Manager, The Met Office

The Met Office works across all areas of the aviation industry to help ensure safe and efficient operations. We provide a wide range of services such as specialist web sites, forecaster telephone advice, SMS text alerts and high resolution data services to name a few. These services are tailored to meet the needs of various users so that they have the most accurate information to support their weather dependant decision making, and we also add further value by simplifying the interpretation of meteorological conditions and their impact on airport, aircraft and air traffic management operations.Delivering weather forecasts and advice that is easy to access, easy to understand and directly relevant for specific purposes is very important. However, without timely and highly accurate content, forecasts will be severely degraded. To achieve the necessary standards presents a significant technological challenge as creating forecasts is a complex process.


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