Snow, ice or slippery conditions are not a problem at the Finnish airports
Finavia has invested plenty of resources in winter maintenance. In Finland, the airports stay open in spite of snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures. The maintenance units, on call 24 for hours a day, and special machinery developed for reducing the slippery conditions of runways are the key. Safety is the first priority; that is why winter maintenance and anti-ice and de-icing treatments of runways are so important.
Mechanical methods, i.e. ploughing and sweeping, are the main skid-prevention methods used on runways. If chemical de-icing agents have to be used in addition, products with a minimal environmental impact are always chosen. The anti-icing and de-icing treatments of airplanes are performed using hot water and non-toxic propylene glycol; these operations are the responsibility of the airlines' forwarding companies.
“In Finland, airports are well prepared for heavy snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures. In Northern Finland, we normally have several winter months during which the thickness of snow may be up to one metre. Now the Helsinki Airport has a record amount of snow, but thanks to our efficient equipment and on-call maintenance staff, we are well capable of handling these snowfalls as well,” says Reijo Tasanen, SVP, Finavia Airport Operations.
The winter maintenance of runways deploys sweeping machines, snow ploughs, snow blowers and friction meters. These help ensure that the runways and taxiways are operable even during the heaviest snowfalls. Major airports such as the Helsinki Airport have three runways; when one is being cleared of snow, the two others are in use.
The snowy conditions currently prevailing in Central Europe have had little effect on the operation of Finnish airports; only a few routes to Central European destinations have been affected. The airlines bear the responsibility for any cancelled flights.
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