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WINTER OPERATIONS


own vehicles, they are brought in to clear snow and truck it to dumping areas. The winter services fleet is comprised of approximately 200 vehicles. A total of 90 snow clearing vehicles are deployed to the apron park positions alone. The area to be cleared at Munich Airport amounts to more than 4 million square meters. In case of impending delays through snow and ice, the Winter Services crews are put on alert by the FMG 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. Special vehicles also continuously test the braking coefficients on the runways. If they do not meet the standards, the Traffic Management Center immediately orders the runway in question to be cleared or de-iced. For environmental reasons, priority is given to mechanical removal of snow and ice from traffic operation areas. The spraying of a de-icing agent is necessary only when there is a risk of surface icing on flight operation areas. On some surfaces quartz sand is spread instead of a de-icing agent. On both sides of the runway, reinforced concrete gutters collect the melting fluids as they run off and channels them into holding basins. From there they are pumped in a controlled manner to a water treatment plant. The 2012/2013 season is an outstanding example


of the effort and expense involved in Munich Airport’s winter services. It was one of the harshest winters faced by our crews since the airport opened in 1992. By the end of March they had worked more than 118,000 hours – an increase of nearly two thirds over the previous winter. The 73 days of winter operations was also much higher than in the 2011/2012 season, when crews saw 50 days of action.


SNOWFALL RATE The total snowfall last winter amounted to approximately 110 centimeters. The airport’s winter services had to remove some 900,000 cubic meters – or 15,000 truckloads – of compacted snow and distribute it over the five snow dumps on the airport property. The heaviest day of operations last winter was January 17, 2013, when both runways had to be cleared 11 times. In total, FMG incurred 13.5 million euros in additional personnel and material costs as compared with an average winter season.


20 / AF /January 2014


Alongside the de-icing of the airport’s runways and


other surfaces, another vital aspect of aviation safety is the de-icing of aircraft. The removal and prevention of ice accumulations on wings, fuselage and tail of aircraft is extremely important. In Munich the de-icing of aircraft is performed exclusively by EFM, the joint subsidiary of Lufthansa and FMG that also provides aircraft towing services. With its 27 special vehicles – nicknamed “Polar Bears” – EFM is capable of de-icing all aircraft types – from Learjets to the enormous Airbus A380 – and performs up to 68 de-icing operations per hour. The decision to de-ice an aircraft is made by the pilot.


DE-ICING PROGRAMME Aircraft must be free of ice and snow before take-off because a build-up on the wings and control surfaces causes the aerodynamic properties to deteriorate. This means that the aircraft needs a longer take-off roll, for instance, which in turn delays lift-off and may even result in an abandoned take-off. Consequently, the Clean Aircraft Concept (ISO 11076) is mandatory around the world.


This standard stipulates that an aircraft can take off only after it is completely freed of frost, ice, snow and slush and adequately protected against the formation of new ice. At Munich Airport approximately 95 percent of all


departing aircraft are de-iced just before take-off with their engines running at special de-icing pads (the “remote areas”) at the heads of the runways. There are three de- icing pads for each take-off direction on the north and south runways. Each de-icing pad is provided with several de-icing vehicles. Because of the proximity of the remote de-icing areas to the runway, they have the advantage that aircraft can take off within the shortest possible time after being de-iced. This minimizes the possibility that the hold-over time for the de-icing fluid will be exceeded, which necessitates a repeat de-icing operation. This process


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