I’m writing this on Friday afternoon, as we who live in the D.C. area brace for what looks like the largest winter storm in many years. Even small amounts of snow cause great consternation in Washington as people flock to the store to buy enough provisions to withstand the siege of Stalingrad; large amounts will shut the place down for days.
Good thing airports don’t run that way.
I saw a recent story on all that airports do to keep their facilities running during and after snowstorms. Unlike the street you live on, it is not enough to just plow the runways one time; there is a constant amount of work, effort and expense that goes into keeping the airport, as one airport director put it: “open, safe and operational.”
Airports spend a lot of money keep the runways open and the parking lots accessible. Of course, the Snow Belt spends more then the Sun Belt. For example, one key Midwestern international airport spent more than $29 million in 2008 for snow removal and ice treatment. Twenty-two airports, according to an ACI-NA survey, spent more than $1 million to plow the snow. But even Texas gets winter weather with one city spending $10,000 in 2008.
As you travel this holiday season, I hope your weather is good and your trip uneventful. But if snow is involved, you can rest assured that your airport operator is doing everything possible to keep that facility open, safe and operational so that you can get to your destination and enjoy your holiday with loved ones.