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With the increase in unusual weather events during winter, airports have become increasingly efficient

at minimising the disruption caused to their businesses. Millions of Euros have been spent on equipment and personnel which allow operators to keep airports open for longer periods when heavy snow arrives. This is not just a business decision. If airports perform badly during harsh winters and travel chaos ensues the closing of runways quickly becomes a political issue which management cannot duck. So, for example, the problems encountered at Heathrow during the winter of 2010 led to an inquiry which made recommendations about what the airport operator needed to do to perform better. There is always an environmental levy to be paid for a significant ramping up of the use of machinery and chemicals which is often not at the top of the agenda when these decisions are made. As the analysis feature in this issue of Airport Focus points out on page 11, airports may have no control over the

1 Dr Michael Kerkloh CEO, Munich International Airport

2 Paul Reid Executive Board Member, NATS

3 Bob Haywood Consultant & former Director, WS Atkins & Partners

4 Neil Pritchard Airside Strategy and Development, Heathrow Airport

5 Thomas Torsten-Meyer Former Senior Vice President, Airport Operations, Munich Airport

6 Foo Sek Min Executive Vice President (Corporate), Changi Airport Group.

4 5 6 1 2 3

“They charge the carrier or the airport directly for how much deicer is used so there is little incentive for them to use the minimum amount to do the job”

application of deicing fluids as the airlines contract deicing services directly. Each contractor uses different deicers with various concentrations of the fluid. More significantly, they charge the carrier or the airport directly for how much deicer is used so there is little incentive for them to use the minimum amount to do the job. With planes getting larger - think

of the quantity of deicer needed to clean a snowbound Airbus A380 – and winter operations increasing in intensity, the sustainability equation will get harder to square. The sustainability aspect to these

operations inevitably becomes part of the capacity-driven argument for bigger airports with more runways. Some airports are pursuing policies that make it more likely that the aviation sector can win the argument. Munich airport is located in an area with high-level ground water and because of that the state government has put in place strict conditions under which deicing operations can be carried out . This means that deicing procedures must not affect ground water and any other water within the airport area. This meant that all glycol-

contaminated storm water from the aprons, taxiways and runways had to be collected and treated. In order to comply with these strict conditions the airport management decided that it needed to recycle the used aircraft deicing fluid for re-use on the airport. The recycling process starts at the airport’s remote deicing pads, which collect used deicing fluid through the “grates” that drain into an underground collecting system. The airport saves 2 million euros ($2.6 million) each year with its recycling program. Recycling deicing fluid avoids the costs normally involved in wastewater treatment of used deicer effluent. Using recycled deicing fluid means the airport foregoes the purchase of as much as 2 million litres (528,000 gallons) of new deicing fluid. The airport’s dedicated re-cycling plant is a greener alternative to traditional deicing operations because it saves 15,000 metric tons (16,500 tons) in carbon emissions. That is the equivalent of 64,000 round-trip flights between Munich and London.

Gary Mason, Editor Email me:

AF / January 2014 / 3

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