A Guidebook for Airport Winter Operations

Winter weather has the potential to disrupt operations at airports of all sizes; and recent events at several airports have again illustrated the importance of preparing for, operating during, and recovering from winter events. Lack of preparation by an airport for these events can result in potential safety issues. In addition, it is well known that dealing with winter operations can represent a significant cost to airports. For example, at a larger airport facility, the cost of delaying flight operations to permit snow clearing has been estimated in some cases to exceed $300,000 per hour--a factor which can support a decision to increase investment in snow removal so as to reduce the time required to clear a runway. To prepare for these events, airports have to develop a variety of procedures based on individual or unique requirements. Examining the range of existing procedures and evaluating effectiveness would help airports in general respond to a continuing winter operations requirement. Research is needed to develop a guidebook that would provide a useful tool in preparing an effective winter operations plan. Such a guidebook would help to ensure that, based on best practices, optimal investments are being made at airports of varying sizes. The objective of this research is to prepare a guidebook to help airports prepare for, operate during, and recover from disruptive winter events, as well as manage airport user expectations. The guidebook will identify and evaluate best practices in airport airside and landside winter operations, as well as provide guidance on how to manage overall passenger experience within a framework of safety and efficiency. The guidebook will also provide guidance to airport operators on determining the optimal level of investment necessary to implement an effective program, given expected winter conditions and the nature of the aviation activity at that particular airport. The audience for this guidebook will include managers, operators, and users of small to large airport facilities. At a minimum, the guidebook should address the following program elements as components of an effective winter operations plan adaptable to a variety of airports: (1) Operational consideration (friction, weather, and other factors); (2) Strategies and tactics (equipment, chemicals, drift control, and other related factors); (3) Operational guidelines (personnel, timing, human factors, and other related issues); (4) Economic and finance considerations (budget analysis, benefit-cost analysis, risk analysis); (5) Environmental issues (permitting and other applicable regulations).


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $400000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 10-15

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Schatz, Theresia

  • Start Date: 20120701
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 29117

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01463237
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 10-15
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:20PM