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Finavia strengthens snow expertise at its airports

Press release
Article published
4.12.2013 at 07:00
Snowplow machines on snowy day.
Finavia is preparing for snow at its airports by strengthening its snow equipment. This year and last year, the company invested about €12.5 million in new snow equipment. A total of ten new, towable brush/blower units have been acquired at network airports: two each in Ivalo and Vaasa, and three each in Turku and Kuopio. In addition, Helsinki Airport will get six brush/blower vehicles and a driveable snow plough. In addition to equipment procurement, new sensor technology has been acquired for monitoring runway conditions.

"The snow-related expertise of airports establishes the preconditions for air traffic all year round in Finland. Finavia wants to make sure that the operating capacity of airports in snow conditions will remain at an internationally high level. Enabling the operations of our airports and air traffic in different weather conditions is the foundation of Finavia's customer service because air passengers and airlines expect air traffic to also be more operationally reliable than other forms of traffic, even in demanding weather conditions," says Henri Hansson, technology and environment director at Finavia.

"Driveable brush/blower vehicles, and brush/blower units towed by a truck, snow ploughs, friction measurement equipment and the equipment for spreading anti-slip substances are essential elements of Finavia's strategic equipment, which is used at all 25 airports in Finland. With effective equipment, runways can be kept safe, and the environmental impact can be kept as low as possible," says Hansson.

The new brush/blowers ordered by Finavia are supplied by the Finnish company Pajakulma Oy, which continues the operations of Vammas in Finland. "We have been developing our snow expertise through close cooperation with suppliers for many years, so it is a very good thing that a Finnish supplier was successful in the competitive tendering process. In this way, major investments at airports also support employment in Finland," says Hansson. The lifecycle of Finavia's equipment is 20 years, but with good service, the life of individual machines is longer. The equipment is rotated through the airport network because machines that have been in use for a longer time are very suitable for airports with less traffic and a smaller number of operating hours.

In addition to effective equipment, snow-free conditions and other smooth conditions are ensured through operating methods polished over the years. The Helsinki Airport maintenance department, for example, has more than 20 pre-planned operating models which have been practised in advance and which will be applied in cooperation with air traffic control according to the weather conditions. The management of weather changes is based on long-term process and product development where the utilisation of weather data and models with different technology provides a solid foundation for planning and operative activities. Over several winters, Finavia has received extensive international attention regarding Helsinki Airport's ability to operate reliability in demanding snow conditions. The snow expertise of other Finavia airports is also at a high standard internationally.


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People & Aviation