Round the Clock Works to Keep Airport Operating
Tuesday 16 August 2011
Round the Clock Works to Keep Airport Operating through Severe Snow Storm
Crews continue to work around the clock to maintain the operating capability of Christchurch International Airport - one of the city’s key transport routes.
Chief Operating Officer, Andy Lester, says the wintery blast brought heavy snow to the tarmac overnight and all available resources have worked through the morning to clear the runways and taxi areas, so they can once again accept aircraft.
A Singapore Airlines flight was the first in just after nine this morning.
Chief Executive, Jim Boult, says the temporary closure was one of the few in living memory for the airport which, with a couple of recent and notable ground moving exceptions, have consistently remained open to service the needs of the travelling public.
“Closure was unavoidable during the earthquakes of September and February, but outside of that, few can recall a time in recent history when we have had to close.
Ironically, the last time we closed was during the snow dump of 1992, and as was the case then, this decision was also driven by concerns for the safety of our staff and the public in trying to access the facility when weather conditions had made roads in and around Christchurch so treacherous.
“Once the weather and the roads began to clear we felt comfortable in reopening, though whether flights arrive or depart, still remains at the airlines discretion.”
Ground crews this morning cleared 25mm of new snow from the airport runways, aprons and taxi areas and are rostered 24-7 to keep them clear until the storm passes.
Four wheel drive vehicles have been used to bring in other essential staff to maintain the airport’s operating capacity.
“As they did, during the previous snow event just last month, our staff and partners have pulled out all the stops to ensure we can continue to support the travelling public get to and from their destinations. “
Passengers are urged to check with their airlines before beginning their journey, and to travel carefully.