Every day an average of 1,200 aircraft take off and land at Munich Airport, carrying as many as 110,000 passengers on board. When winter weather hits this precisely timed system, it can have a big impact on the closely coordinated processes that keep traffic moving.
If visibility is affected, too, then the intervals between arriving and departing aircraft also need to be longer. All of this can lead to a build-up of delays over the course of the day that may result in flight cancellations at short notice.
What are the tasks of our Winter Services department?
Keeping operational surfaces clear:
In case of snowfall, an essential task of our Winter Services crews is to keep runways free of snow and ice. Unlike cars, aircraft cannot adjust to slippery conditions by taking off and landing more slowly. In addition, the taxiways and aircraft handling areas on the apron need to be ready for use at all times.
Before take-off it is also necessary to perform a thorough de-icing of aircraft.
When harsh winter conditions are expected, airlines can help to alleviate potential problems ahead of time by prioritizing flights and rebooking passengers in advance. That is not always possible, however. After all, weather forecasts are never entirely accurate and conditions can change rapidly.