Review of airport winter operations
Halifax Stanfield International Airport
Due to the complex and often unpredictable nature of inclement weather events, airports worldwide face challenges in managing operations during the winter months. Runway contamination, such as standing water, snow and ice, and strong winds play a role in most runway excursion incidents. Still, especially during ongoing strong snowfall, it is challenging and often not viable to maintain all runways, connecting taxiways and other related surfaces free of contamination. Therefore, it is of particular importance for airports to be well organised and properly manage the status of the runway and anticipated information distribution.
With the implementation of the new Global Reporting Format (GRF) for runway surface condition assessment and reporting, which is required by 4th November 2021, airports are confronted with additional challenges. Procedures need to be adapted, personnel trained and eventually new technology implemented in order to ensure timely reporting in the required format.
In order to support airports in fulfilling all responsibilities as a certified airport operator to the highest standard, airsight offers independent reviews of airport winter operational practices to identify potential for improvement, taking into account worldwide best practices from the industry. The external view enables an objective approach and allows to find optimization possibilities that go beyond guidelines, recommendations and regulations.
Transparency and communication as key factors
Usually, airports have special and structured procedures for winter operations in place (snow plan, SOPs) to ensure safe and efficient operations in inclement weather conditions. Nevertheless, unexpected occurrences may cause delays and create safety issues.
Therefore, effective methods for communication, collaboration and coordination with airlines and other relevant stakeholders are key factors for efficient winter operations. Having written documents of processes in safety-critical fields like inclement weather situations clarifies responsibilities and operational processes, ensures compliance and creates traceability of decisions.
airsight supports in reviewing procedures and documentation for completeness, comprehensibility and structure to create a baseline for transparent decisions and collaboration with stakeholders. Thereby common situational awareness and a minimum acceptable level of service can be effectively achieved.
Exchange of experience
Even though parameters vary from airport to airport, depending on the geographical location and the associated meteorological weather phenomena, the size and importance of the airport, the volume of traffic and individual organizational structures, information on how other airports manage inclement weather situations can be extremely helpful in optimizing own procedures.
The aviation industry is known for its openness to exchange of experience, what helps airsight in such an operational review project to establish a benchmark in order to gather practices of airports of similar size and geographic location. This allows airport operators to learn not only from their own experience but also from that of others.
Gap analysis and derivation of recommendations
Based on information of all interviewed airports in the course of the benchmark combined with recommendations from international guidelines and regulations, common and practices which have proved to be particularly effective can be identified.
airsight derives a list of recommendations and ideas tailored specific to airport individual conditions.
Feel free to contact our Airport Operations department to discuss the challenges you may be facing!