Winter at Munich Airport

A safe flight operation due to our winter services

Every day an average of 1,000 aircraft take off and land at Munich Airport. 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 happens at Munich Airport in snow and ice

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.

De-icing aircraft

Before take-off it is also necessary to perform a thorough de-icing of aircraft. This is done by the "Polar Bears" of EFM, a subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa and Flughafen München GmbH. Every year they de-ice up to 15,000 aircraft - from Learjets to Airbus A380s.

Prioritizing flights

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.

  • Monitoring developments, coordinating actions and providing information: That is how the process unfolds when it snows at Munich Airport.
  • Our vehicles for winter service and aircraft de-icing (without small clearing or manual clearing equipment)


Average clearing and de-icing times at Munich Airport

Times for snow removal and de-icing
snow removalmax. 30 min
surface de-icingmax. 12 min
aircraft de-icing11 min

Passenger information

Despite our best efforts to ensure smooth flight operations, inclement weather conditions can cause restrictions and delays.

We therefore advise passengers

  • In case of wintry conditions, budget plenty of time to get to the airport.
  • Arrive at check-in as early as possible.
  • Check your flight status in advance on the airline's website.
  • Utilize the day-before check-in option.

In case flight operations are impacted, additional service staff will be on duty in the terminals whenever possible. They will be available to answer passengers' questions at all times and will to provide assistance with any concerns.

If possible, airlines will rebook their passengers on other flights with available seats or arrange for travel on Deutsche Bahn trains. Moreover, the airlines maintain limited blocks of hotel rooms to accommodate passengers overnight if necessary when flights cannot depart on the same day.

Passengers can obtain information on departing flights on airline websites

Winter Services in action

Winter at the airport: Munich Airport's Winter Services deploy more than 200 workers on every shift to keep the airport running smoothly.

Further news