In less than 10 minutes, Volvo’s special fleet of articulated haulers clear the runways of snow at Arlanda Airport, Sweden, allowing the airport to remain open, while others in Europe closed.
In December 2010, some of the largest airports in Europe were forced to cancel hundreds of flights because of heavy snowfall, throwing passenger trips into turmoil just before Christmas.
At Arlanda Airport, just outside Stockholm, Sweden, a team of 130 people tackled snow and ice to keep the airport moving, with the help of Volvo Construction Equipment. Although flights are occasionally delayed because of heavy snow, the airport has never closed due to bad weather – and it has been operating since 1962.
A clean sweep
Arlanda has among the world’s largest snow blowers, powered by Volvo. There are 17 Volvo A25D articulated haulers, nine wheel loaders of various Volvo models and a number of Volvo trucks.
The fleet is fitted with special snow accessories. The Volvo A25D articulated haulers have a 7.3 meter wide plough that shovels snow from the tarmac. It is followed by a brush that sweeps away snow and ice and a blower, which blows away any remaining snow. By driving nine A25Ds alongside each other, it is possible to clear a 3.3 kilometer long and 45 meter wide runway in less than 10 minutes.
“This makes us the world’s fastest airport snow-plough team,” says Stefan Sundkvist, field coordinator at Arlanda Airport.
In addition to the Volvo A25Ds, there is a fleet of Volvo wheel loaders equipped with snow-ploughs, sweepers and snow blowers.
Safety is everything at the airport. The Volvo machinery is in constant contact with the control tower to ensure it is integrated into air traffic planning. Just as aircraft receive precise take-off and landing times, the machinery has an exact time-slot to clear the snow and ice.
“We have a total of 250,000 square meters to clear, but aircraft have to continue taking off and landing at the same time,” says Stefan. “There’s absolutely no room for driving around haphazardly – all the traffic has to be controlled and planned down to the last detail.”