Win‌ter Servi‌ces

What will the winter be like? This question is particularly important for the winter services manager at Leipzig/Halle Airport. Whatever the answer, one thing is certain: winter services are extremely important for smooth flight operations at Leipzig/Halle Airport. 

To guarantee that flights operate on schedule at Leipzig/Halle Airport, the runways, taxiways and handling areas must be kept operational for aircraft and helicopters at all times. As soon as the German Meteorological Service forecasts snow, direct preparations for clearing and gritting operations start at the work group on duty; they are designed to guarantee ideal conditions for aircraft taking off and landing on the areas where aircraft move. The roads, footpaths and car parks in the public section of the airport are also the responsibility of the winter services so that passengers, guests or visitors can move about safely; these areas are dealt with just as systematically.


The winter services team has about 300 workers from the company and outside contractual partners, who have been specially trained to provide winter services. The winter services are organised in a continuous three-shift system. As many as 80 workers are available for each shift. 

Intensive initial and further training measures equip the winter services workforce to operate the special equipment and use it efficiently.

Highly efficient winter services fleet

Well-trained operators and a modern, permanently available fleet of vehicles are important prerequisites for successful winter services.

Leipzig/Halle Airport has the following winter services equipment:

  • 20 TJS 630 jet sweepers
  • 24 tractors with a snowplough and sweeping unit, spraying or gritting unit
  • 3 TJS 420 jet sweepers
  • 1 CJS compact jet sweepers with a snowplough
  • 2 surface spraying vehicles with a working width of 45 m and 13,700 l capacity for liquid de-icing fluid
  • 2 surface spraying vehicles with a working width of 35 m and 15,000 l capacity for liquid de-icing fluid
  • 2 spraying and gritting vehicles each with a capacity of 6,000 l for fluids and 4 cm3 solid de-icing agent
  • 5 snow blowers
  • 1 high-performance blower
  • 8 tractor units with walking-floor trailers for transporting cleared snow
  • 2 snow cats to pile up the volume of snow at the snow depot
  • 5 trucks with a snowplough and gritting unit
  • Various small clearing devices such as mini-gritters and sprayers with snowploughs

The winter services operators are divided into five shift groups and work a three-shift pattern.

The airport staff are supported by contracted firms in the vicinity, which, through structured service contracts, assist with the winter services between November and March in the following year.


Winter services involve teamwork and staff from different departments at the airport are involved. During operations, the winter services task force leaders work closely with the airport’s traffic centre, which coordinates the handling work in the air traffic areas. German Air Traffic Control, which controls aircraft taking off, landing and taxiing at the airport, and the German Weather Service, which provides its regular forecasts, are other important partners for the winter services.

Always on stand-by

As soon as temperatures almost reach freezing point, the duty traffic officer requests regular measurements of the braking figures (friction coefficient) on the surface of the runways. A specially equipped car is used to measure the friction coefficient. If the measurement shows that the braking figures are critical, the winter services are notified immediately.

The clearance or gritting measures employed primarily depend on the amount of precipitation and the nature of the taxiways. In principle, however, mechanical operations take precedence over the use of chemicals.


If snow starts to fall, a group of 14 clearance vehicles starts operating. They clear snow from the middle of the runways to the sides in line with the prevailing wind direction. Combined in one process, the clearance and compact jet sweeper that are being pulled operate together with a snowplough, a sweeper and a snow blower. A high-performance snow blower hurls the snow on to the adjacent areas at the edge at a working speed of approx. 30 km/h. Once the snow reaches a certain height, it is blown on to the neighbouring areas using a snow blower. The compacted snow very near parked aircraft is loaded on board trucks using a snow blower and is transported to a dumping area. This means that aircraft taking off, landing or taxiing are not hindered. Regardless of the weather situation, 15 minutes are required to clear the taxiway in question. 

Combatting ice and snow

Many different procedures are used to combat ice and snow. Mechanical gritting and clearance measures for all surfaces where aircraft or vehicles move are always preferred to chemical means at Leipzig/Halle Airport, for ecological reasons. In order to ensure 100% operational capability at the airport, even in complicated weather conditions during the winter months (e.g. freezing rain or frozen residue), mechanical clearance is not always enough. In these situations, additional materials are used to clear the taxiways. This may be slate with a grain size of no more than 3 millimetres or an environmentally-friendly chemical surface de-icing material. The salts and solvents used for the public transport network are not used in aircraft areas for technical reasons.

Surface areas

The winter services at the airport have to clear extremely large surface areas and keep them ready for operations. These areas expanded significantly through the northern extension of Leipzig/Halle Airport in 2000 and the new construction of the southern runway with its apron areas and taxiways. It was therefore necessary to draw up new clearance techniques and make them available for the winter services when the airport was expanded.

The following table provides an impression of the size of the areas that have to be kept operational:

Type of surface

SIZE OF area

Air traffic areas approx. 2,600,000 m2
Road and traffic areas (airside)approx. 430,000 m2
Roads and car parks (landside)approx. 200,000 m2
Routes (footpaths and maintenance walkways)approx. 140,000 m2
Miscellaneousapprox. 130,000 m2


approx. 3,500,000 m2

Clearance platoon

A clearance platoon at Leipzig/Halle Airport consists of 14 vehicles with heavy snowploughs, sweepers, and snow blowers as well as a surface de-icing vehicle and a group leader. The clearance platoon operates e.g. on the take-off and landing runways or other taxiways in order to clear the snow from the middle to the edges. The clearance platoon is led by the runway group leader. The necessity for bringing out the surface de-icing material follows, either as a preventive measure, or in direct connection with the clearance activities.

Compact Jet Sweeper CJS 914

This vehicle was developed to rapidly clear snow from flight operation areas. Clearance, sweeping and blowing as a compact unit in one vehicle means high mobility and high clearance performance. On the front is mounted a trip edge plow with an effective working width of 6.10m and a clearance width of 3.35m. Between the front and rear axles there is a cylindrical brush (moveable left/right). A well-placed blower delivering cold air at approx. 530m³/min is mounted at the rear.

Technical Data:

  • Brush working width: 4.20 m
  • Brush width at 32° tilt setting: 3.60 m
  • Brush diameter: 914 mm
  • Vehicle power: 372 PS
  • Additional motor power: 326 PS
  • Snowplough width: 5.60 m

Jet sweeper – TJS 630

This jet sweeper was developed as a high-performance device for the rapid disposal of snow on take-off and landing runways. Clearing, sweeping and blowing as a compact unit in one vehicle means high mobility and high clearance performance. a trip edge plow with an effective working width of 6.10m is mounted on the front. The vehicle is fitted with a standard drive head and a special sweeper attachment. In the centre of the vehicle, operating in front of the cylindrical brush is a blower facility which delivers approx. 530 m3/min of cold air and deals with the last remnants of snow on the runway surface. With a clearance speed of 45 km/h, this vehicle, in this form, is, until now, unique.

Technical Data:

  • Brush working width: 5.80 m
  • Brush width at 32° tilt: 5.40 m
  • Brush diameter: 1.10 m
  • Hydrostatic drive with traction motor: 430 PS
  • Clearance speed: 45 km/h
  • Additional drive motor: 326 PS
  • Working width snowplough folded: 6.10 m
  • Rear blower jets and in front of brush: ca. 540 m³/min

Jet sweeper – TJS 420

The TJS 420 was also developed to rapidly clear snow from take-off and landing runways, as well as for aprons with limited space. With an effective working width of 4.20m and a clearance speed of 45 km/h, this vehicle, in this version is, like the TJS 630, until now, unique.

Technical data:

  • Brush working width: 4.20 m
  • Brush width at 32° tilt: 3.60 m
  • Brush diameter: 1.10 m
  • Hydrostatic drive with traction motor: 430 PS
  • Clearance speed: 45 km/ h
  • Additional drive motor: 326 PS
  • Working width snowplough: 4.20 m
  • Rear blower jets and in front of brush approx.: ca. 540 m³/min

Surface de-icing vehicle 45/13

For de-icing of large surface areas a specially suited de-icing vehicle is employed. This vehicle was constructed to bring de-icing materials rapidly to areas such as take-off and landing runways or open aprons. The swivelling spray bar can deliver a spray volume from 5 g/m2 up to 50 g/m2 as selected, at a previously chosen width of up to 45m.

Technical data:

  • Basic vehicle: 35t truck
  • Assembly: Frame construction
  • Grit container: 13.7m³ liquid
  • Pump capacity: 1.000 l
  • Output width: 3 – 20 – 40 – 45 m

Schneeräummaschine SUPRA 5001

Die Supra 5001 ist eine Spezial-Schneeräum-Maschine mit Knicklenkung. Diese Bauart bringt einen engen Kurvenradius und eine große Beweglichkeit, so dass die Supra 5001 besonders geeignet ist zum Verladen von Schnee. Der hydrostatische Fahrantrieb erlaubt die Übertragung der gesamten Motorleistung auf die Räder. Die Maschine besitzt damit eine sehr große Beschleunigung, hohe Transportgeschwindigkeiten und effektive Bremswirkung. Eine lastabhängige automatische Vorschubregelung garantiert eine maximale Leistungsausnutzung bei der Räumarbeit. Durch den hydrostatischen Antrieb des Fräs- Schleuder- Aggregates ist eine stufenlose Regelung der Auswurfweite gegeben. Das zweistufige Fräs-Schleuder-System eignet sich - unter Beibehaltung der Weitwurfeigenschaften - zum Verladen von sehr nassem oder hartem Schnee. Das komfortable Fahrerhaus bietet ausgezeichnete Sichtverhältnisse auf die Räum- oder Fahrstrecke.

Technische Daten: 

  • Räumbreite:  2,60 m
  • Wurfweite: ca. 5 bis 40 m
  • Motorleistung: 571 PS
  • Räumleistung: ca. 5000 t/h

Snow clearing and loading machine

The actual vehicle description of this machine is »Snow thrower« and is used as such at Leipzig/Halle Airport. In addition this machine is fitted with a telescopic loading chute which increases its applicability enormously. The loading of an 8 x 8 tipper truck of up to 40t can be completed in approx. 30 secs.

Traktor mit Schneepflug und Heckbesen

Diese Fahrzeuge kommen auf Flughäfen immer mehr zum Einsatz, da sie auf Grund ihrer Wendigkeit und der geringen Baugröße überall dort eingesetzt werden können wo man mit der großen Räumtechnik (TJS) nicht mehr oder nur schwierig hinkommt (z.Bsp.: in Ecken oder um die Konturen von Flugzeugen). Diese Fahrzeuge beräumen den Schnee und schieben ihn dort hin wo man es mit den Räumkehrblasgeräten wieder aufnehmen kann. Mit dem Besen im Heckbereich werden die Schneereste, welche zwangsläufig beim Schneeschieben liegenbleiben, beseitigt.

Technische Daten: 

  • Räumbreite: 3,5 m
  • Kehrwalze: 3,55 m

Räumtraktoren mit Frontbesen und Sprühtank

Technische Daten:

  • Gewicht Traktor: 7.500 kg
  • Gewicht Traktor mit  Anbaugeräten: 10.140 kg
  • Länge mit Anbaugeräten:  7.500 mm
  • Breite mit  Anbaugeräten: 4.000 mm
  • Höhe: 3.200 mm 
  • Kehrbreite bei 25° Schrägstellung: 3.400 mm
  • Sprühtankinhalt: 1,5 m3
  • Motorisierung: 137 KW / 186 PS
  • Tankinhalt: 340 Liter​

Großflächenstreuer Stratos auf MAN- TGS Fahrgestell

Dieser Großflächenstreuer ist auf einem handelsüblichen Abrollkippersystem aufgebaut, was es ermöglicht, das Trägerfahrzeug in den Sommermonaten zu anderen Arbeiten heranzuziehen. Besonderheit bei diesem Großflächenstreuer sind die asymmetrisch verstellbaren Auswurfteller, welche es ermöglichen, einseitig bis ca. 12 m Wurfweite in einer Höhe von 1 m das Streugut zu verteilen (z.Bsp. unter die Tragflächen von Flugzeugen).

Technische Daten: 

  • Länge: 10.042 mm
  • Breite: 2.500 mm
  • zGG: 28.000 t
  • Streumittelbehälter: 6,0 m3
  • Behälter für Flüssigenteiser: 4.000 Liter
  • Streubreite: 6 m bis 24 m

Pisten Bully 300 W Kässbohrer

Technische Daten:

  • Gewicht: 8.000 kg
  • Länge: 5.980 mm
  • Breite: 4.600 mm
  • Höhe: 3.200 mm
  • Wendekreis: 9.000 mm
  • Motorisierung: 315 KW/430 PS
  • Tankinhalt: 210 Liter

Hochleistungsfräse Fa. Schmidt TS10000

Technische Daten:

  • Gewicht: 26.000 kg
  • Länge: 9.660 mm
  • Breite: 3.170 mm
  • Höhe: 3.300 mm
  • Wendekreis: 17.000 mm
  • Motorisierung: 571 KW/777 PS
  • Tankinhalt: 620 Liter
  • Räumleistung: 8.000 t/h
  • Wurfweite: 60.000 mm

Squad leader vehicle

In order to carry out necessary inspections, the leader of the clearance platoon as well as the duty team leader of the winter road clearance service are equipped with a 4–wheel-drive vehicle. These vehicles are fitted with the necessary communications systems, such as a telephone, trunk radio as well as with a light bar highly visible to aircraft and other operators.

Technical data:

  • Type: Toyota, 2.400 cm³
  • Motor power: approx. 100 PS
  • Communication: 2 x airport trunk radio,1 x telephone

Friction testing vehicle

The conditions for arriving and departing aircraft change during the winter months due to rain, snow or other precipitation. In order to determine the prevailing friction coefficient, a special vehicle with the name »Friction Tester« was created on a basic Sharan chassis. The vehicle travels at a pre-selected speed (up to 92 km/h) on the critical surfaces. At the same time, a measurement wheel built into the rear axle presses down on the road surface and thereby simulates the actual conditions of an aircraft in the take-off or landing phase.

Technical data:

  • Type: VW Sharan, 130 PS
  • Cubic capacity: 2.300 cm³
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Communication: Airport trunk radio
  • Other: Measurement computer, printer, data
  • communication to third party, signalling equipment