Preparing for Winter in SXF and TXL

27.11.17 09:00

Every year, winter season in Berlin's airports Schönefeld and Tegel begins at the end of October. The runway maintenance employees of Flughafen Brandenburg GmbH, of the WISAG as well as of the Aviation Ground Service Berlin take care of winter road services.

In total, in both locations, there are up to 390 employees working over several shifts. Up to 210 airport employees and service providers for runway clearance and gritters, as well as 180 WISAG and Aviation Ground Service Berlin employees. Together on average, they distribute 1100 tonnes of liquid, 600 tonnes of grit and 250 tonnes of sand for the 327 hector sites every winter.

Well prepared for the 2017/2018 winter season

From October, winter fuel is ordered, so that all aircrafts can also run perfectly in temperatures under minus 20 degrees. In order to increase reliability, many aircrafts are fitted with fuel heaters and energy conservation facilities. The airport company orders chemical de-icing fluids for the runway from two independent suppliers, who deliver the order within 24 hours.

Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH winter road services

The airport company's runway maintenance clears all runways, taxiways and airport ramps in security. The winter service on roads and pavements in public areas is taken over by service providers. The average amount of de-icing agent used in these situations in the Berlin airports Schönefeld and Tegel currently lies at 1100 tonnes of de-icing fluid (potassium formate), 600 tonnes of grit (potassium formate) and 250 tonnes of sand every winter. These materials boast a very good environmental sustainability, as the formula is totally biodegradable and has a low toxicity level for water and plants.

A total of 327 hectors on-site has to be cleared:

  • Tegel Airport: 111 hectors
  • Schönefeld Airport: 121 hectors
  • BER: 95 hectors (all together approx. 460 football fields)
  • To de-ice a runway takes approx. 30 minutes (largely weather dependent). Around twelve tonnes of fluid and six tonnes of grit are used.

74 airport-specific clearing machines are available, 35 in Schönefeld and 39 in Tegel:

  • Amongst them are eight new generation clearance vehicles for the runways (four per location): Clearance width: 5.30 meters / total width of snow plough: 7.20 meters / Total length: 19 meters / Total weight: 27 tons / Power: 440 hp / Tank volume Truck: 350 litres / Tank volume Sweeper: 600 litres / modern electronic control / operation via joystick.
  • This year, for the first time, all clearance vehicles for large runways will be equipped with a modern, scattering data management system. The driver will see which runways have already been treated on a display and the vehicle will switch off automatically. The amount of agent used can be dispensed very precisely depending on various influential factors.
  • Tegel Airport already received a new clearance vehicle for large runways in December. The vehicle has a performance of 430 hp and can spray liquid de-icing agent onto the runway using powerful pumps, with a width of up to 36 meters, at a speed of up to 35 km/h. The vehicle de-icing agent tank has a volume of 16,000 litres. 

Aircraft de-icing through WISAG and Aviation Ground Service Berlin

Employees of WISAG, as well as Aviation Ground Service Berlin, are responsible for aeroplane de-icing. De-icing is coordinated by the employees in the Airport Control Center. De-icing an aircraft can take between ten to twenty minutes, depending on size of the aeroplane, weather conditions and the technology used. The consumption of de-icing fluid can vary between 150 and several thousand litres, depending on the type of aircraft and weather conditions. The liquid used is environmentally friendly and biodegradable.

De-icing agent storage capacity:

  • Tegel Airport: In total, 274,300 litres, of which 208,000 litres are in the fuel depot and 66,300 litres are in the aeroplanes.
  • Schönefeld Airport: In total, 496,000 litres, of which 450,000 litres are in the fuel depot and 46,000 litres are in the aeroplanes.
  • Additional emergency stock capacity: 100,000 litres.

WISAG and Aviation Ground Service Berlin vehicles:

  • In total, 25 Vestergaard Elephant Beta, Beta-15 and Gamma de-icing vehicles (fifteen in Tegel, ten in Schönefeld)
  • Maximum operating height: 13-23 metres
  • De-icing agent tank capacity: 5,000-8,000 litres

In Schönefeld, winter road services run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
So that operations at Tegel can start at 6:00am, the shift starts at 4:00am. In the case of extreme weather conditions, the on-call services can be informed from 01:15am. For continuous snowfall, the employees in both airports are working around the clock in several shifts.

Service instructions for passengers

In the event of poor weather conditions, passengers should plan more time for their journey to the airport and inform themselves about the current situation at the airports and flight status, well in advance of their journey. Passengers can find relevant information about their booked flights through their respective airline or tour operator. Passengers can find information and check up-to-date flight status' at www.berlin-airport.de, with Airport Information on the number +49 30 6091 1150 or via Twitter (@berlinairport).

Hannes Stefan Hönemann

Hannes Stefan Hönemann Head of Corporate

+49 30 6091-70100

Daniel Tolksdorf

Daniel Tolksdorf Spokesperson

+49 30 6091-70100

Kathrin Westhölter

Kathrin Westhölter Spokesperson

+49 30 6091-70100