More than 600 employees maintain safe flight operations at Munich Airport in the snow and ice

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Munich Airport


The beginning of the cold season marks the start of the winter maintenance team’s work at Munich Airport, with the specially trained employees available around the clock from 1st November.

The winter maintenance convoy comprises 181 vehicles, including 66 tractors from the area surrounding the airport. More than 600 men and women are part of the winter maintenance team, of whom around 520 come from agriculture and trucking companies in the region. Per shift, up to 190 operatives clear the airport site of snow and ice.

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In order to make airport operations as smooth as possible, large areas have to be cleared of snow when it falls. The two runways, the aprons, and the taxiways alone make up around 5.6 million square meters, the equivalent of more than 780 soccer fields. It takes around 30 minutes to clear a runway at Munich Airport. Up to 2.2 million cubic meters of snow are collected here every season. An underground collecting tank ensures that the melted snow is not released into the environment.

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Owing to environmental protection concerns, the mechanical clean-up of road surfaces is a priority. The use of surface de-icers is only necessary when the movement areas are at risk of icing over. On some of the surfaces, silica sand is used instead of de-icing fluid. Channels along both sides of the runways catch the runoff and carry it to a meltwater retention basin. From here, the meltwater is conveyed to the treatment plant in Eitting in a controlled manner.Aircraft must also be freed of ice and snow before take-off. This is carried out by a total of 22 “polar bears” provided by Enteisen und Flugzeugschleppen am Flughafen München mbH (EFM), a subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Munich Airport. EFM de-ices up to 15,000 aircraft – from Learjets to Airbus A380s – per year. The used de-icer is collected and mostly recycled, with a recycling rate of up to 70%.