Finnish-style SnowHow

Fighting extreme winter weather to keep aircraft flying is critical when an airport is less than 450 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Tony Mallett talks snow business with the dedicated team managing Finavia’s worldleading runway clearance programme.

Finavia operates a large fleet of snow-clearing machines, many made by Vammas. (Photos author except where stated)

The expert team at Helsinki Airport (HEL) take a great deal of pride in the efficiency of their snow clearance operation. Heavy falls are expected as early as November and can continue well into April. As much as 6-7ft (2m) might accumulate and at times the temperature can drop to -25C (-13F), but even in such conditions the runways must remain open and the flights kept moving.

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