Airports, airlines take precautions preparing for winter weather

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Whether it’s rain, snow or ice, before your plane can take off, airports and airlines take precaution.

Senior Vice President of Operations and Maintenance of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation Alan Andrade said the airlines are responsible for de-icing their own planes. So if snow or ice builds up, they clean it off.

“We have an 8,700-foot runway that we just completed, which is a great thing, but now we have to clear it,” Andrade said. “Then they’ll coat it with an anti-icing product that prevents the ice from forming or bonding to the surface of the aircraft.”

But airlines aren’t using the same type of salt the Rhode Island Department of Transporation is using on the roads. The Federal Aviation Administration regulates that they use specialized products that won’t harm the plane or runway.

The airport’s role in a weather event is mainly mechanical engineering, according to Andrade.

T.F. Green Airport has specialized snow plows that work in tandem.

“We form a ‘V’ as we go down the runway to plow basically from either the left or right direction,” Andrade said.

The brooms sweep the plowed snow to the side and the blowers blow the snow off the runway.

For crews at T.F. Green, Andrade said they embrace New England winters and whatever they may bring.

“Our team is ready to go. They love this time of year,” Andrade said. “They actually enjoy showing what they can do and really taking care of the airfield and making it safe for the public.”

The wintry weather could also interfere with air travel. The WPRI.com Flight Tracker showed several delayed arrivals and departures Friday evening at T.F. Green in Warwick.

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