Finavia has launched an extensive development programme at Helsinki Airport, aimed at 2020, when 20 million passengers will pass through the airport every year. As Finavia is expanding the airport for growing passenger volumes, the surface area of air traffic areas and the apron will also increase.
“Due to the expansion of the airport, snow needs to be cleared from larger areas. To guarantee a smooth flow of traffic and maintain Finavia's leading position in snow-how, we will acquire additional vehicles for future winters,” says Heini Noronen-Juhola, Finavia's Vice President at Helsinki Airport.
In snow ploughing, attention is usually drawn to the line of Finnish-made Vammas PSB 5500 sweeper and blower vehicles. The plough located at the front of this 25-metre monster clears most snow, and the brushes in the middle of the vehicle remove the last traces of snow from the asphalt surface. The rear blower blows away any remaining snow.
“We are more than proud of our snow-how, which means that, even under the heaviest snowfall, we are able to clear the runway in only 11 minutes. In this way, Helsinki Airport remains open 24 hours a day, even when surrounded by large amounts of snow,” Noronen-Juhola says.
Finavia will acquire three new sweeper and blower vehicles at Helsinki Airport. The purchase price is approximately EUR 3 million.
Icebreaker breaks up ice from aircraft parking spots
In addition to snow ploughing vehicles, a real spiked monster and an enemy of compacted ice will be tested on the apron, i.e. the aircraft parking and loading area.
“The spiked monster, or the Raiko icebreaker, will roughly break up ice from parking spots to prevent the apron from being too slippery. As a result, we can reduce the use of chemicals in the breaking up of ice. We will already be testing the icebreaker this winter,” Noronen-Juhola says.
Similarly, the SnoCom ice press is tested. It presses cleared snow into a more compact form. During winters with a heavy snowfall, there will be less need to transport snow from the airport as snow has been pressed and formed into tight blocks. The machine is the first of its kind at Nordic airports.
The aim is also to acquire a modern vehicle designed to distribute ice removal agents. Its modern technology will reduce the consumption of chemicals in the airport environment.
“Thanks to the internationally renowned Finnish snow-how, Helsinki Airport is a smoothly flowing air traffic hub around the year. At the same time, our airline charges are among the lowest in Europe,” Noronen-Juhola says.