Winter has been holding on tight this year, dumping snow and wreaking travel havoc around the globe. From airports to roadways, trying to plan a safe trip during these conditions is a challenge.
At this German airport, to ensure uninterrupted flight operations on the runways, taxiways and aprons, Munich Airport deploys up to 172 Winter Services employees with their special vehicles on every shift. The two runways and the taxiways are constantly cleared of ice and snow by a total of 22 airblast sweepers and six snow plows along with sprayers and grit spreading vehicles. It takes just 25 minutes to clear a runway at Munich Airport.
The Munich Airport Winter Services can draw on a pool of 672 employees. A total of 47 permanent employees of FMG are scheduled to support the crews, mainly in management or supervisory roles. The backbone of the airport’s Winter Services staff is made up of some 490 farmers and truckers from the immediate vicinity of the airport. Working with more than 155 of their own vehicles, they are called in to clear snow and truck it to dumping areas. The winter services fleet has approximately 197 vehicles for the non-public and public areas. The areas to be cleared at Munich Airport amounts to over 4 million square meters: more than the total area of New York’s Central Park. On the park positions alone, 89 sanding and snow clearing vehicles are used.
The Winter Services crews are put on the alert by Munich Airport’s Traffic Management Center, which is in charge of monitoring the condition of the airport’s operational areas around the clock. In addition to the up-to-the-minute forecasts provided by the German Weather Service, the Traffic Management Center is supported by an ice detection early warning system that continually retrieves updated information from 18 measurement stations distributed across the airport. In addition, the braking coefficients on the runways are continually tested using special vehicles.