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Last year’s lessons will keep us moving, says airport

£2m investment in bid to beat the snow and fight delays

Published on December 23rd 2010.

Last year’s lessons will keep us moving, says airport

Manchester Airport claims it is beating the big freeze during the busiest week of the Christmas getaway.

Despite other air travellers being severely delayed, Manchester Airport has remained open and claim’s last winter’s disruption offered a few vital lessons.

Andrew Harrison, managing director of Manchester Airport, said: “We’ve incorporated a number of changes in light of the experiences we gained during last winter, including new equipment that enables us to clear snow in a more efficient way, increased contingency staffing levels and improving capacity to store more anti-icing fluid on site, all of which have helped to keep operations running.

“It’s a real achievement to keep the airport moving – all of our staff deserve a big pat on the back.”

The airport has used 650,000 litres of de-icing fluid to ensure aircraft can safely operate and around 50,000 cubic metres of snow have been cleared from the airfield.

More than £2m has been invested in the airport’s new and existing fleet of snow clearing equipment, helping 1 million sq ft of airfield remain fully operational during the big freeze. Manchester Airport’s Runway 1 is the equivalent size of 19 football pitches.

Manchester Airport has also been able to schedule flights that should have left from Heathrow, with around 600 passengers leaving to Doha and Hong Kong on Tuesday. Another 1,000 passengers are expected to arrive from Heathrow today (Wednesday) travelling to Doha, the US, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Since Friday, Manchester Airport has accepted 26 diversions which were unable to land at airports in southern England, with around 5,000 passengers on-board – a further ten flights heading for Paris and Frankfurt were also accepted into Manchester.

Operations were temporarily suspended for around three hours last Friday, however, with ten flights diverted to other airports. On Sunday evening, freezing fog meant that several smaller aircraft also had to land at alternative airports due to poor visibility.

Since Friday, more than 100 flights out of around 1,600 have either been cancelled or delayed at Manchester, due to displaced aircraft and snow-closures at other airports.

“It should however be recognised that there will always be certain times when conditions deteriorate to extent that airports have no option but to suspend operations for the safety of passengers and staff,” said Harrison.

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