Water management at Finavia's airports

Water management is an important part of our environmental work.

The winter maintenance of airports plays a key role in ensuring aviation safety and the punctuality of traffic in our country. Finland’s Nordic weather conditions require that maintenance units have a variety of professional skills and efficient equipment. Finavia's winter maintenance is of a high international standard.

Environmental loading on bodies of water at airports is caused by:

  • deicing of runways
  • anti-freeze and deicing measures carried out in remote deicing areas or on the apron

Runway deicing procedures

Finavia most commonly uses mechanical runway anti-skid methods, such as sweeping and ploughing. Anti-skid agents are required for removing frost and ice from the runway surface and for skid prevention.

  • Acetates and formates are used as anti-skid agents. The substances are not classified as hazardous, but they cause environmental load on bodies of water.
  • Frost and thin ice are removed using liquid substances, which are approximately 50% water, while granular substances are used to remove thicker ice. Liquid substances are most common (comprising approximately 80% of the total volume used), as it is rare for the runway to be covered in thick ice. Granular substances can melt ice all the way to the surface of the runway, if necessary, after which the surface is cleaned by ploughing or brushing.

Aircraft anti-icing and deicing

In cold and humid conditions, snow and ice form on the surface of aircraft. They must be removed for safety reasons, as they reduce the performance and manoeuvrability of the aircraft. In addition, ice that breaks off from the surface of the wings can get into the engine and cause malfunctions.

  • An anti-freeze treatment prevents snow from attaching and ice from forming on the surfaces of the aircraft during taxiing and take-off.
  • When the aircraft is flying at cruising altitude, the humidity and air pressure are low and very little ice formation occurs. Aeroplanes are equipped with electrical or mechanical deicing equipment in case of freezing during flight. Aircraft deicing and anti-freeze measures are the responsibility of ground handling companies.

We monitor water quality

Finavia monitors the quality of groundwater and surface waters at nearly every airport it operates. Monitoring is carried out both on a voluntary basis and in compliance with environmental permit conditions or as agreed with the environmental authorities.

Water acidity, chemical oxygen consumption, electrical conductivity and oxygen content are determined from samples taken from wells, groundwater pipelines, runoff drainage and water bodies in the vicinity of airports.

Water management at Helsinki Airport