2011-01-07

Leipzig/Halle Airport masters onset of winter

Flughafen Leipzig
Flughafen Leipzig/Halle

While hundreds of travellers are stuck at the terminals of many European airports due to flight delays and closed runways, Leipzig/Halle Airport has the winter perfectly under control.

 

Leipzig/Halle Airport is an important hub for global cargo traffic. For this reason, the airport makes large investments in its staff and technology in order to prevent flight cancellations or delays even under difficult weather conditions. This aim will be accomplished again in this winter season. Therefore, the airport relies on the high-performance solutions by Schmidt.

There is an exterior area of more than 2.8 million square metres - the equivalent of approx. 440 football fields - to be kept serviceable at all times. The focus is particularly on the southern of the two runways, which is used for cargo traffic. It measures 3,600 metres in length and 60 metres in width. Snow removal workers have no more than 15 minutes to clear it. Wolfgang Wenzel, Head of Automotive and Instrument Engineering states: "Every additional minute seriously interferes with flight traffic. Planes need to stay in the air and fly holding patterns. The whole time schedule would then be turned upside down". This would cause financial losses for all parties involved.

Careful preparation is the reason why this situation has never occurred so far. This is also why instructional courses and training for staff members in the handling of the employed equipment started as early as September. "In addition, further training and educational workshops were taking place into the first days of this winter season", says Wolfgang Wenzel. Moreover, the vehicles were being maintained and tested by both in-house and external service staff – including the one of Schmidt – to be prepared for the upcoming winter. This is not surprising: "Leipzig/Halle Airport is one of our largest and most important customers in Germany", says Gerd Kröning, Sales Manager of Schmidt in Germany. For this reason, the German snow and ice control specialist has established a service facility in the immediate vicinity of the airport, which is located northwest from Leipzig.

Preparation also includes detailed schedules for the crew and the vehicles. "The machinery can only work optimally when all vehicles are employed in a correct and efficient manner. Using a high-quality vehicle improperly may lead to damage or technical failures and will create a negative opinion of the product and its quality in general." It is not enough to simply have good vehicles at one's disposal. They also need to be operated correctly and employed in reasonable combinations. Wenzel is speaking from decades of experience: "Each vehicle has its specific qualities and excels in its own way. After all, the result achieved when the job is done is what really matters." Airport Leipzig/Halle with the international code LEJ invested heavily in its winter service vehicles in autumn 2010. "In cooperation with the Dresden University of Technology, we calculated our requirements for machinery and equipment for the winter season. This additional investment now enables us to fully live up to our own high standards." "Consequently, everyone was much less concerned about the upcoming winter", explains Wenzel.

The favourable conditions at Leipzig/Halle Airport recently received praise from a cargo company, informing Gerd Kröning that "landing here is always a safe bet, even under most difficult weather conditions". The Schmidt Sales Manager is happy to pass on this acknowledgment. Wenzel and his co-workers, who are working around the clock in a three-shift system to ensure that airport operations can continue as normal, will certainly appreciate the recognition for their work.

This year the winter service at LEJ has

  • 20 TJS 630 (sweeper blowers)
  • 3 TJS 420 (sweeper blowers)
  • 5 loading cutters
  • 1 snow cutter blower
  • 13 tractors with snow plough and rear brushes
  • 2 folding snow ploughs
  • 6 special transport vehicles for snow
  • 2 large spreaders
  • 3 sprayers
  • additional various clearing and spreading equipment