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Denver International Airport Prepared for 2014-2015 Snow Season

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DENVER — Oct. 8, 2014 — Denver International Airport is busy preparing for the 2014-2015 snow season by training snow-removal crews, testing equipment and reviewing plans.

DIA’s snow preparations actually begin long before the flakes start to fall. In August, DIA’s snow-removal crews tested their skills at the airport’s annual “Snow Roadeo,” which includes obstacles that test operators’ abilities to maneuver their vehicles by simulating roadway barriers or hazards. Early this morning, those same drivers put months of training to the test by performing a “dry run” that included driving the same routes on DIA’s runways that they will use this snow season. Drivers practiced clearing all six of the airport’s runways.

“DIA’s employees are dedicated to safely and efficiently maintaining airport operations in all types of weather and conditions,” said airport CEO Kim Day. “Our investments in equipment, training and new technology have created efficiencies and cost savings for the airlines and the airport alike.”

DIA’s snow-removal assets include:

  • 500 trained snow-removal personnel
  • Approximately 270 pieces of snow equipment, including: Blowers, brooms, blades, plows, sanders, snow melters, 4,000-gallon chemical trucks, loaders with box plows, tractor-plows, liquid spreaders, multi-function equipment, bobcats and more
  • A combination of solid and liquid deicers are used to treat landside pavement (such as Peña Boulevard)
  • Potassium acetate is used to treat runway and taxiway paved surfaces

DIA snow-removal crews are responsible for:

  • Six runways; Five runways are 12,000 feet long and 150 feet wide, and one is 16,000 feet long and 200 feet wide (the longest commercial runway in North America) for a total of 12.2 million square feet
  • More than 40,000 parking spaces
  • Approximately 240 lane miles and 30 acres of parking lots
  • All of Peña Boulevard and adjacent roads on airport property

Following the blizzard of December 2006 – which saw snow drifts towering more than 6-feet tall in places – DIA revamped its snow-removal procedures to include prioritizing snow removal routes and invested in new multi-function equipment that is able to clear runways and other paved surfaces more quickly and efficiently. The changes helped reduce the average amount of time it takes to fully clear one runway from as much as 45 minutes in 2006 to about 15 minutes today.

Last fall, DIA deployed the state-of-the-art Saab Sensis Aerobahn Surface Management System that provides airport operations managers with real-time information about aircraft deicing operations. The system uses sensors that provide precise aircraft positions on the airfield to more efficiently manage aircraft traffic throughout the deicing process. The new system – which will be fully utilized for the first time this winter – is estimated to save each departing aircraft 2.6 minutes in deicing time, which amounts to a total of about $5.8 million in fuel savings for the airlines.

DIA also has one of the most comprehensive deicing fluid collection and recycling systems in the world, with an average collection rate of 69 percent of all fluid applied to aircraft in a typical winter season. By capturing and recycling deicing fluid, DIA saves approximately $2 million per year compared to the cost of processing the fluid as wastewater.

Previous snow totals:

  • From October 2013 to May 2014, there were 40 snow events at DIA totaling 38.4 inches of snow
  • From October 2012 to May 2013, there were 33 snow events at DIA totaling 78.4 inches of snow
  • From October 2011 to May 2012, there were 24 snow events at DIA totaling 55.6 inches of snow

Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. For more information visit www.FlyDenver.com, check us out on YouTube and Instagram, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for DEN’s monthly newsletter Nonstop News.


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Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. Follow us on socials!