How cold weather impacts airport operations

There's no snow in sight and the skies are sunny, but extreme cold can still cause airport operations to slow down.

Commercial airplanes can handle the cold. The challenge is for the people working outdoors and their equipment. 

Employee safety

It takes more than the flight crew to get you moving. When a plane arrives at a gate, until it departs for its next flight, there is a ground crew working to service the plane. 

They are responsible for tasks such as loading and unloading baggage, refuelling, and guiding planes to the gate. Double-digit lows are challenging for these airport workers. There are risks such as cold stress, frostbite and hypothermia. To stay safe in the cold, they need to take frequent breaks in sheltered areas to warm up between incoming and outgoing flights. 

Freezing equipment 

As temperatures drop, operating certain equipment and hydraulics also becomes more challenging. It takes a lot of equipment to service a plane, such as tugs, bag carts and belt loaders. A lot of this equipment must be heated up to work properly.

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