Airports are essential for connecting people and businesses, but winter weather can be a major disruption to operations.
Snow, ice, and freezing rain can make it difficult to keep runways and taxiways clear, and can also lead to delays and cancellations.
In order to stay connected and resilient during extreme winter weather, airports need to have a comprehensive plan in place. This plan should include the following elements:
- A well-trained workforce: Airport staff need to be trained on how to operate safely and efficiently in winter weather conditions. This includes training on how to clear snow and ice, how to operate snowplows and other equipment, and how to handle passengers and cargo in winter weather.
- Adequate snow removal equipment: Airports need to have enough snow removal equipment on hand to keep runways and taxiways clear. This equipment should include snowplows, salt spreaders, and de-icing trucks.
- A contingency plan: In the event of a major winter storm, airports need to have a contingency plan in place. This plan should outline how operations will be handled, and how passengers and cargo will be rerouted.
- Partnerships with other agencies: Airports should partner with other agencies, such as the National Weather Service and the Department of Transportation, to get early warning of winter weather events. This will help them to prepare for the storm and minimize disruptions to operations.
- Investment in new technology: Airports can also invest in new technology to improve their winter weather resilience. This technology could include snowmelt systems, runway friction devices, and weather radar.
- Working with airlines: Airports can work with airlines to develop flexible flight schedules that can be adjusted in the event of a winter storm. This will help to reduce the number of delays and cancellations.
- Communicating with passengers: Airports need to communicate with passengers and the public about winter weather conditions and travel advisories. This will help passengers to make informed travel decisions.
By following these steps, airports can stay connected and resilient during extreme winter weather. This will help to ensure that passengers can continue to travel safely and efficiently, even in the face of adverse conditions.
Strategies for Winter Weather Preparedness at Airports
- Have a plan for staffing during winter storms. This may include bringing in extra staff or staggering shifts to allow for rest and recovery.
- Make sure that all equipment is in good working order and that there are enough supplies on hand.
- Have a plan for communicating with passengers and the public, including through social media and text alerts.
- Be prepared to adjust operations as needed, such as by closing runways or diverting flights.