Airport snow removal takes a team and fleet of equipment


COLONIE (WRGB) – Albany International Airport directors have been preparing for Wednesday’s snow storm since Tuesday.

The day before they have a “snow meeting” where they brief the “snow team” and airport directors on the incoming storm. They discuss snow removal and possible flight cancellations.

The snow team consists of 30 people who work 12 hour shifts. They have a total of 30 pieces of equipment to clean the airport. The airport has the equivalent of 120 miles of roadway to clean across the airport’s property.

They use everything from a simple hand shovel, to de-icing machines – and even a giant snow blower truck that can throw snow 300 feet. We’re told it could clean the average household driveway in three seconds!

“If it's rain we'll broom it off the runway, if it's sleet we'll have to put some type of chemical down there possibly, if it's snow we'll start brooming, and if it's heavy snow we'll have the plows out there and the snow blowers.” Airport spokesperson Doug Myers said.

After the snow is plowed and piled up, crews haul it off to a melting pad, that way they can melt the large amount of snow and properly dispose of the de-icing chemical that’s mixed in. The glycol is converted into methane gas and is used to heat two of the airport’s buildings.

Crew members will work around the clock. They say with Wednesday’s storm, they’ll likely be cleaning the airport for two days.

Myers says your flight may be canceled by the airline company during the storm, but they do their best to keep the airport open and operating around the clock.

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