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AW6 2022 NEWS Operations & Maintenance

Keeping people moving


We report on some of the operational and maintenance news stories making headlines in Europe and across the wider airport ecosystem.

Frankfurt’s Sky Line people mover system taking shape

Frankfurt Airport has unveiled the the first vehicle for its new Sky Line people mover, which will carry travellers from the long-distance and regional train stations at the airport straight to the main building of Terminal 3 in only eight minutes.

When operational – the new terminal isn’t due to open until 2026 – the new driverless transportation system will be capable of carrying up to 4,000 passengers per hour in each direction.

The people mover, which will supplement the existing transportation system that passengers have been using for many years to get between Terminals 1 and 2, will boast a total of 12 vehicles each of which is 11 metres and 2.8 metres wide and weighs 15 tonnes. One car of each vehicle will be reserved for non-Schengen travellers.

Fraport AG CEO, Dr Stefan Schulte, enthused: “We are deploying state-of-the-art technology and intelligent construction methods to implement our vision of a futuristic airport terminal. Travellers, guests, and employees can all look forward to short paths, high frequencies, and outstanding levels of comfort and convenience.”

Siemens Mobility in Vienna is manufacturing the vehicles of the new Sky Line people mover to meet Fraport AG’s special requirements.

Albrecht Neumann, CEO for Rolling Stock at Siemens Mobility, explained: “The delivery of the first fully automated vehicle marks an important milestone in the construction of the new Sky Line.

“Going forward, these conveyances will efficiently, comfortably, and sustainably carry passengers to and from the new terminal. The trains are based on our proven Val solution, which is already in use worldwide, including at airports in Bangkok and Paris.”

The Max Bögl group is responsible for building much of the new, 5.6 kilometre-long route on which the new Sky Line will operate. This work has been ongoing since July 2019 and is said to be proceeding right on schedule.

Elevating experience at Ben Gurion Airport

TK Elevator is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a service provider for elevators installed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel.

The company began servicing installations in the airport in 1997 and today maintains over 80 elevators in the passenger terminals and airport buildings.

This portfolio includes units manufactured by TK Elevator, as well as third-party elevators. A dedicated team is on-site around the clock, 365 days a year, to enable quick, professional, and reliable service.

“A smooth passenger flow is essential to the operations of every airport, and we are proud to have contributed to ensuring this at Ben Gurion Airport for the last 25 years,” says Amid Tal, CEO of TK Elevator Israel.

“At TK Elevator, we know that meeting the specific needs of airport customers requires a well-trained, on-site presence and a reliable spare parts supply network. This is how we support the mobility of millions of passengers and are proud to have the continued trust of Ben Gurion Airport.”

Ben-Gurion is the country’s largest international airport in terms of passenger numbers and aircraft movements and has served as its main gateway since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

Optismising airport slots

Veovo has formed a global strategic partnership with OneAlpha, an airport slot management and capacity planning company, which it says gives operators the ability to streamline the slot approval process while maximising the use of runway, apron and terminal capacity and resources.

According to Veovo, the integration of OneAlpha’s tools with its AODB and Resource Management System removes system and communication barriers between airlines and airport slot and planning teams for faster, more accurate decision-making in dynamic-operating environments.

The partnership supports OneAlpha’s vision to share its platform with the world’s best airports. Several of Veovo’s 120+ customers are already benefiting from the alliance.

OneAlpha’s cloud-based slot management tool automates the slot request-to-approval process from one central tool, checking requests against runway, apron and terminal capacity and saving time for slot co-ordinators and airport management. Once the slot is confirmed, the integration with Veovo’s powerful resource management tool enables a seamless handover to strategic planners to optimise resource planning in and outside the terminal, including stands, gates, counters, and baggage belts.

Future, and often last minute, schedule change requests can also be quickly evaluated and automatically integrated into the tactical planning horizon, freeing up experts to focus only on the most complex scenarios.

Veovo believes that the new partnership also offers the additional benefits of supporting long-term planning and regulatory reporting. OneAlpha’s tool, for example, allows operators to forecast the impact of infrastructure improvement or maintenance works on capacity, enhancing operational and commercial decision-making.

And, with resource usage data from Veovo’s RMS fed back into the slot planning process, airports can simplify regulatory reporting and fine-tune future slot allocations – in a continual improvement cycle.

James Williamson, CEO of Veovo, added: “We continue to seek smarter ways to use new technologies and collaborate with partners with the goal of making airport operations more efficient.

“The strategic partnership with OneAlpha is an important step forward in removing many manual airport processes to facilitate better, faster operational decision-making across all time horizons, from slot management and capacity planning to the day of operations.”

Making Phoenix Sky Harbor’s HVAC systems more efficient

The City of Phoenix has awarded ECM Technologies an additional $400,000 contract to use its innovative technology to treat Sky Harbor Airport’s massive HVAC systems.

The company’s ThermaClear solution is said to radically extend the life and efficiency of HVAC systems as well as reduce the airport’s carbon footprint and offer energy savings of up to 15% annually.

“The efficacy of the ThermaClear treatment on several City of Phoenix facilities led us to extend the original $2.1 million contract with ECM Technologies, adding an additional $400,000 to treat the airport,” said Jim Gorombei, energy systems specialist at the City of Phoenix.

“We are highly committed to actions that help further our goal of becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2050, and this is one of them.”

Winter ready at Munich Airport

Munich Airport’s huge winter maintenance team comprising 600 and over 180 vehicles has been on standy and ready for action 24 hours-a-day since the start of November in readiness for the cold winter months ahead.

Around 520 of the team come from agriculture and trucking companies across the region as do 66 tractors that form part of the airport’s convoy of winter maintenance vehicles.

Up to 190 operatives per shift are on standby to clear the airport site of snow and ice while extra help is provided by specially trained employees available around the clock.

The German gateway notes: “In order to make airport operations as smooth as possible, large areas have to be cleared of snow when it falls. The two runways, the aprons, and the taxiways alone make up around 5.6 million square metres, the equivalent of more than 780 soccer fields.

“It takes around 30 minutes to clear a runway at Munich Airport. Up to 2.2 million cubic metres of snow are collected here every season. An underground collecting tank ensures that the melted snow is not released into the environment.

“Owing to environmental protection concerns, the mechanical clean-up of road surfaces is a priority. The use of surface de-icers is only necessary when the movement areas are at risk of icing over.

“On some of the surfaces, silica sand is used instead of de-icing fluid. Channels along both sides of the runways catch the runoff and carry it to a meltwater retention basin. From here, the meltwater is conveyed to the treatment plant in Eitting in a controlled manner.

“Aircraft must also be freed of ice and snow before take-off. This is carried out by a total of 22 ‘polar bears’ provided by Enteisen und Flugzeugschleppen am Flughafen München mbH (EFM), a subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Munich Airport.

“EFM de-ices up to 15,000 aircraft – from Learjets to Airbus A380s – per year. The used de-icer is collected and mostly recycled, with a recycling rate of up to 70%.”

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