Airports prepared for snowy winter

Airports prepared for snowy winter

Gatwick has stepped up its snow preparations to ensure that flights can land and take off safely-even in wintery conditions.

In response to criticism over its grounding of flights last winter, the airport has doubled its snow clearing fleet and claims that it can now clear as much of the white stuff as airports in Oslo, one of Europe's snowiest cities.

And as an added precaution, employees have been given "snow socks" to put on the wheels of their vehicles so they can get safely to and from work.

Gatwick chief executive officer Stewart Wingate said: "Our £8 million snow-clearing equipment has landed, it's actually here. We've more than doubled the size of our snow-clearing fleet from 47 to 95, and the machinery is ready now."

“We're convinced we will be faster at clearing the runways." he added.

The measures follow the news that the government is considering a bill which will impose multi million pound fines on airports who fail to invest significantly in making sure that runways are clear and flights are able to take off. The bill, which is due to come in for winter 2012, will update rules which have not been altered since the 1980's.

Airports and air carriers have welcomed the changes: “Last winter's snow showed that the performance of airports had not improved at the same rate as airport charges have increased.” said a spokesman for Virgin Atlantic.

Carolynn McCall, EasyJet's chief executive also hailed the changes which, she said, put the passenger “at the heart of aviation.”


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