Cologne Bonn Airport

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Winter maintenance services

Winter maintenance services


As soon as there is a threat of the onset of winter with snow and ice, the Cologne Bonn Airport winter service staff immediately goes into action. Runways and taxiways are cleared and sprayed with an acetate solution (up to 9,000 litres per session), which is environmentally friendly and 100 percent biodegradable.

Parallel to this, Airport staff clear the roads, the bridge pivoting areas and entrances to the halls with the help of small vehicles. At the same time, the winter service control centre organises the clearance of the aircraft parking positions on the aprons. Here, they use blowers, airport sprayers for liquid de-icers, gritting vehicles, snow ploughs and sweepers.

A small Multicar, a Unimog and tractors with snow blades and spraying devices are also out and about to clear the surfaces of ice and snow.



Sometimes, it is necessary to de-ice an aircraft at a temperature of eight degrees already. Therefore, the de-icing officer at Cologne Bonn Airport is on duty from 1 October until 30 April. Ten supervisors and some 60 volunteers are on call even in their free time. There are six aircraft de-icing vehicles with extendable platforms from which the winter service staff can spray a glycol-water mix onto the wings and the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, i.e. on all the parts crucial for aerodynamics.

De-icing a Boeing 737 takes about 15 minutes in a one-step process, that means ice and protectors can be cleared before ice forms again. This process is applied in 85 percent of the cases. In the two-step process applied for larger aircraft, such as the MD 11, de-icing can take up to one and a half hours. The winter service people first remove ice and dirt with hot water and then spray an anti-icing fluid on the treated surfaces. This fluid contains a thickener that ensures the protective agent stays on the surfaces for a certain time. The costs for de-icing are borne by the respective airline.


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