Finnish airport operator Finavia has acquired three new sweeper and blower vehicles for Helsinki Airport at a cost of approximately €3m (US$3.2m).
The Finnish-made Vammas PSB 5500 sweeper and blower vehicles measure roughly 25m (82ft) in length and use a giant plough at the front and brushes on the underside the vehicle to remove snow from the asphalt. A rear blower helps to remove any remaining snow.
Heini Noronen-Juhola, Finavia’s vice president at Helsinki Airport, said, “Due to the expansion of the airport, snow needs to be cleared from larger areas. To guarantee a smooth flow of traffic and maintain Finavia’s leading position in snow-how, we will acquire additional vehicles for future winters.
“Even under the heaviest snowfall, we are able to clear the runway in 11 minutes. In this way, Helsinki Airport remains open 24 hours a day, even when surrounded by large amounts of snow.”
In addition to the snow plowing vehicles, Finavia has begun testing the Raiko icebreaker, which uses rotating spikes to break up compacted ice on the apron.
“The spiked monster, or the Raiko icebreaker, will roughly break up ice from parking spots to prevent the apron from being too slippery. As a result, we can reduce the use of chemicals in the breaking up of ice,” added Noronen-Juhola.
Alongside the icebreaker, Finavia will also test the SnoCom snow cuber, which presses cleared snow into a more compact form, helping with removal and storage. The machine is the first of its kind to be used at Nordic airports.