The airport’s commercial responsibilities include remaining open during scheduled hours of operation from 6 am ato 11 pm every day. This also means it is responsible for clearing the snow and de-icing.
Being able to offer a spraying and clearing width of 40 meters, the winter service team needs no more than ten minutes to completely clear the runway from snow and ice. The runway has clear priority, when it comes to snow removal, followed by the taxiways and the apron. The Operation Airside Duty Manager (OAD) takes regular test drives on the runway and checks, whether it is necessary to clear the surface. In addition, the airport has an early warning system for black ice, which gives information via multiple probes about freezing point, dew point and air- as well as ground temperature. A close coordination with air traffic control and the OAD is absolutely essential before clearing any airside areas.
At present the snow clearing fleet consists of ten snow sweepers, a high-performance milling machine and an unimog (a mulit-purpose-vehicle) for the mechanical clearance of the surfaces. In addition, snow blowers are used to spread the snow masses or to load them on trucks and take them to areas at the airport ground, where the snow can thaw. If necessary, the teams are working round the clock. The airport owns snow ploughs, snow-blowing machines, snow cutters and liquid runway de-icers.
The winter services team consists of staff from various departments and is on alert from the beginning of November until the end of March. There are 54 permanent staff, 11 workers as substitutes and 4 temporary staff. The winter services operations follow precise regulations, which have developed from the experience gained in the past and which are constantly optimized. It is decisive to be able to rely on a perfectly trained and well-coordinated team.
The airport takes care of the mechanical clearing of snow with the aid of ploughs and snow-blowers, also using chemical de-icers to maintain operational surfaces and aircraft. Urea is used, a chemical de-icing fluid which is 99% bio-degradable.
There is a black-ice warning system which constantly checks the ground and air temperatures by means of highly sensitive sensors. The most exact temperature measurements are taken in the take-off and landing areas of the runway. This information makes it possible to use the ground de-icing chemicals in an extremely environmentally friendly way.
In the case of aircraft de-icing, an airplane is freed from ice and snow. This process is necessary for safety reasons, because ice and snow increase the aircraft weight and adversely affect aerodynamics.