• Winter plan for spanish airports is already activated

    AENA's Winter Plan

Winter is here, and with it comes the enchanting yet challenging season for air travel. Spanish airports, managed by the renowned AENA, have rolled out their “Winter Plan” to ensure seamless operations amidst the icy embraces of the colder months.
This proactive approach is vital for maintaining both safety and operational flow during this period.

Stay tuned to this post to find out all about the Winter Plan!

Winter Operations Plan 2023-2024: A Comprehensive Strategy

In an impressive move, AENA has allocated over 2.2 million euros to their winter operations this year. This budget is smartly invested in maintaining a fleet of 200+ vehicles equipped for snow and ice removal, training over 1300 employees, and acquiring more than 500 tonnes of solid deicer and 419,000 litres of liquid deicer.
This year’s winter plan encompasses 21 of the country’s 46 airports, particularly those in regions more prone to harsh winter conditions. Some of these include major hubs like Madrid, Asturias, León, and San Sebastián, to name a few.

The Winter Plan Protocol: Beyond Just Preparation

The airport meteorological office plays a pivotal role, issuing reports on potential adverse weather conditions and timing. Following these reports, the operations office alerts all relevant parties.

  • In scenarios where runways and taxiways are damp but not yet icy, both solid and liquid deicers are applied to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the asphalt, facilitating removal.
  • If ice or snow is already present, the deicer acts as a melting agent, allowing mechanical means, such as ploughs, to remove it efficiently.
  • In extreme situations, assistance from the airport’s emergency services may also be solicited.
  • For runways, it’s crucial to report the friction coefficient to inform flight crews for calculating necessary takeoff and landing distances.

AENA’s training programmes include personnel from various sectors: AENA staff, State Meteorological Agency workers, handling agents, airline representatives, and air traffic controllers. It’s imperative that all parties involved are well-versed in these special operations to avoid potential incidents.

Beyond the usual: Handling major snow events

Spain’s Mediterranean climate means major snowfalls are rare, but the Winter Plan is crucial for uninterrupted operations. A stark reminder of this was the 2021 Filomena snowstorm, which led to the complete closure of Barajas Airport and required the intervention of the Military Emergency Unit to clear over 20 centimetres of snow.
Apart from the Winter Plan, airports engage in routine procedures during colder months to ensure operational safety. One well-known process is aircraft deicing, often seen as planes being sprayed with a hot liquid on the wings.

  • Winter Plan in spanish airports

The Winter Plan: A key to maintain normality

As we have explained, the winter plan is essential to maintain normality when weather conditions become harsh.

For a detailed insight into the deicing process and other intriguing related topics, as how storms form ands how it affects aviation, we encourage you to explore our aviation blog.

We hope this article has been enlightening, helping you appreciate the extensive efforts undertaken to ensure safe and smooth air travel during winter.

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