Inverness Airport was originally built in 1940 for the Airforce during the 2nd world war and became known as Royal Air Force Dalcross. It opened for civil operations in 1947. By 1970 British European Airways (BA) operated the first flights to London and London terminals now represent 60% of the flights from this airport. The Airport is now owned by Highlands and Islands Airports operating a range of passenger and cargo services to destinations in the UK, Northern Europe and the Islands of Scotland.
As the largest city in the Highlands of Scotland it is no surprise that just under 1M passengers used the airport last year. Winters are long and cold, so providing an ice-free environment for runway and pavements is one of the key operations during this period. So last year, HIA invested in a new Econ trailer gritter to supplement their ‘airside’ clearing vehicle. It was specifically adapted to carry De-icer Fluid for them in Inverness.
Peter Grant, Senior Group Engineer from Highlands and Islands Airports, says, “During extreme weather, it is vital that we keep the runways open. Temperatures can drop really quickly and despite what you might think, our biggest problem is ice rather than snow.”
“As many flights leave early or late in the day, when temperatures are often at their coldest, it is important that de-icing solution works at very low temperatures on impact. Unlike dry de-icers which require feet or vehicle tyres to work them into a solution and activate their de-icing capabilities, pre-wetting the pellets helps them stick to the tarmac and get to work straight away, even at very low temperatures,” states Peter.
“It was clear that HIA needed a solution that would distribute and activate their own pellets in a way that would allow them to work on impact, so adding De-icer Fluid tanks to the Econ trailer gritter was a bit of a no brainer for this customer. We had to plumb the tanks in and modify the controller to accommodate them, but we pride ourselves in getting to the heart of our customers’ needs and tailor making products is just one way that we do this,” states Paul Wigby, Service Manager at Econ.