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Dublin Airport expands winter maintenance fleet with further Schmidt equipment

Dublin Airport has further expanded its winter maintenance fleet to be operationally ready to tackle the severest winter conditions as it expands airport operations with the forthcoming addition of its new North Runway.

The multi-million-pound 3.1 km North Runway was given approval, funding and a green light before the Covid crisis and has continued to be viewed as a critical national infrastructure project, despite the impact of the pandemic which has seen passenger numbers significantly impacted, budgets constrained and the number of employees reduced. Construction of the runway will be largely completed in the second quarter of next year and this will be followed by a rigorous period of testing and commissioning, with the runway expected to be operational in 2022. In the meantime, it will give the Asset Management teams the opportunity to get used to working with the new runway and planning and practising winter maintenance procedures, said Odhran McCann, Airfield Delivery Manager-Asset Management.

To keep the airport fully operational 24/7 365 days a year, Dublin Airport already operates an extensive winter maintenance fleet that includes six jet sweepers, four de-icers, two glycol recovery vehicles, two snow blowers and 32 KL-Vs snow ploughs, all provided by Schmidt. It also employs two sweepers, a mid-sized Schmidt AS 660 and the compact Schmidt Swingo 200+ for both air and landside operations, capable of operating 24/7, 365 days a year and keeping FOD (Foreign Objects Debris) under control. The AS 660 handles the larger sweeping jobs both airside and landside, tackling larger areas including aprons, ramps, forecourts and car parks, while its smaller sibling, the Swingo 200+, tackles some of the smaller more inaccessible areas that the AS 660 cannot reach.

The Airport has now added a further three towed jet sweepers to its winter maintenance fleet, the Schmidt TJS 630, which boasts a broom length of 6,300mm, and which operates quickly and efficiently to clear snow from runways, taxiways and aprons. The TJS 630 is characterised by a large clearing width, high working speed and good manoeuvrability, while intuitive menu navigation and automatically controlled processes help support drivers to concentrate fully on the clearing operation. Joining them on the fleet are two more Schmidt ASP 30 metre de-icers and a Schmidt FS 90 2.65 m wide snow blower, plus three multi-section eight metre folding snowploughs.

Odhran McCann explained the thinking behind the fleet expansion. “We need to keep the airport operational around the clock – even during the pandemic it was vital for cargo operations, including supplies of health and safety equipment, so it is crucial to keep it fully open. With the North Runway, the new Schmidt equipment has been procured with the future very much in mind and will allow us to have contingencies in our winter fleet. We believe the new jet sweepers will give us the capability to clear the runway in one sweep and this will be something our teams will be working on in the coming months as part of our ORAT (Operational Readiness Airport Transition) plan,” he said. “We have a lot of confidence in Schmidt equipment and the aftersales and support service they provide around them is excellent, which is very important to us to ensure that vehicle downtime is kept to an absolute minimum,” he added.

Mike Moore, Key Account Manager Airport of Aebi Schmidt, commented: “Dublin Airport is a long-standing customer of our group and we have always enjoyed an open and transparent business partnership with it. “We pride ourselves in our aftersales support and we have worked very closely with the Airport to meet their coming needs in terms of new equipment, especially with the North Runway in mind.”