Maintaining a safe and secure airfield for aircraft and passengers is the focus of operations at Vancouver International Airport. This includes implementing and managing a snow response program to ensure safe and efficient operations for our air carriers and passengers.
In fact, the Airport Authority begins preparations for the winter season when it’s still summer. Staff review and revise plans, prepare specialized equipment and order supplies. And throughout the winter, the airport monitors the weather and forecasts from meteorologists who focus specifically on YVR.
During a major snow storm, YVR utilizes up to 80 pieces of snow-removal equipment to keep runways, taxiways and aprons safe. This fleet is so efficient that it could clear the equivalent of Granville Street, full width and full length, from the Fraser River to the Burrard Inlet, in a mere 18 minutes.
This fleet includes highly specialized equipment, including: four snow blowers capable of blowing 20,000 tons of snow every hour; four ‘all-in-one’ trucks capable of plowing and sweeping a 26-foot wide path on the airport’s runways and taxiways; and two high-tech melting machines – aka “hot tubs” – which can melt up to 20 truckloads of snow every hour.
Between 2009 and 2010, Vancouver Airport Authority invested more than $32 million in snow-removal and de-icing equipment, as well as expansions and enhancements to the airport’s de-icing facilities. Next time you’re at YVR during a snow fall, visit the Public Observation Area to watch the snow-clearing process in action.