Getting ready for winter!

Winter disruption at the airport is not a new thing. Most of us have experienced the issues snow and ice can cause to key assets, the flow of passengers to/from the airport and obviously the restrictions such conditions put on the Airfield. So what are we doing this year to be as prepared as possible within Engineering?

Engineering Duty Managers

  • EDM's have linked the Engineering contingency plans with the airport Weather States
  • Contingency plans have been reviewed and aligned with Stable Operations and the Incident Operations Managers (IOM's) to ensure the necessary plans and their steps to follow exist
  • 'Engineering Business Recovery' process has been tested


  • 10 shuttle technicians signed up to the call out rota that is triggered by the snow states. This enables us to up resources during periods of snow disruption
  • Konsin tank and respective pipework leading from tank to maintenance area inspected and operated to ensure it is ready when required - Konsin is used to reduce ice buildup on the guideway which could cause traction issues on the shuttle and result in it being taken out of service
  • Konsin levels monitored continuously throughout winter
  • Back up containers in place should the pumps fail for the Konsin to enable a manual contingency - In the event of the pump failure, small containers are filled local to the tank and transported by hand up to the maintenance area where they can be pumped into the tanks on the shuttle cars
  • Anti-ice pipework and nozzles on the shuttle cars removed, cleaned, re-fitted and tested to ensure they are ready for the snow and ice - These dispense the Konsin onto the track
  • Track heating tested and operates as required - track heating is only in the braking zones in front of the shuttle stations and are crucial to the safety of the shuttle
  • Rail heating tested and operates as required - rail heating is along the 3 phase rails and ground rail. In the event that the ground rails ice up we would experience numerous ground fault alarms which could result in a mid-track stoppage
  • Snow brush spares level checked with enough in stock - The snow brushes are fitted to the shuttle to spin around and throw the snow from the track. Issues occur when there is a build-up of snow over a short period of time and therefore it is important we keep the shuttle running and only take it out of service for safety critical maintenance

Winter welfare and kit

  • The Contractor Support Centre (CSC) set up with a cupboard which contains contingency winter clothing
  • CSC tech clerks have tested the Engineering response to manager call outs
  • Winter welfare & transportation plan has been created identifying key 4x4 vehicles and emergency kits have been supplied with tow rope, shovel, first aid kit, winter blankets etc.

EUE and Water Quality

Airfield/Aircraft de-icing fluid if allowed to run off into the local rivers can be dangerous to the local river egology. The fluid when mixed with melted snow/rain water can cause an unnatural food source for bacteria which uses up all the oxygen and kills off the remaining wildlife i.e. fish. So how do we manage this pollution:

  • Minimise the use of de-icing fluid to only what is required
  • Preparation over the summer to improve the infrastructure that handles surface water
  • Refurbished & repaired the 'Aerators' in the pollution lagoons
  • Drained down lagoons and ponds to provide the maximum storage
  • Serviced & checked all monitoring equipment

Graphical Data Team (GDT)

  • Buried services data such as water lines available to view through the new SAFE product which is available 24/7/365 for those who need access
  • Restrictions removed from GDT Plotter printer so anyone can use and instructions for out of hours use
  • Building floorplans and services available to view in BOX folder and on Group 1 shared drive to allow anyone access to view and print

What everyone should be doing to be ready

  • Ensure you have a clear plan with your line manager and team for how to get to work when the weather turns
  • Ensure you think ahead and have sufficient winter clothing and PPE available to carry out your daily tasks
  • Be fully familiar with your team contingency plans, where to access them and the steps to take if activated
  • Office based staff to take laptops home when snow is expected incase travel to work is not possible
  • Be familiar with the planned rail distuption over the Christmas & New year period and plan accordingly