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How KCI prepares for inclement weather

Posted at 9:52 AM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 10:52:28-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The snow and icy conditions didn’t impact scheduled flights at Kansas City International Airport early Thursday morning.

Crews worked split shifts to handle any accumulation overnight.

Back in January, an airplane slid off the taxiway, causing the runways to close for a few hours.

KCI Spokesman, Joe McBride said officials have since reviewed their strategy. He said thankfully, the pilot on the taxiway was driving the plane extremely slow.

“That was a lot different than if it were to exit a runway or taxiway at speed, and we're glad it was a slow speed mishap,” McBride said. “But we do all the things we can to keep the runways clear of snow and ice for the safety of the passengers.”

To handle the 15.4 million square feet of runways, taxiways and aprons, KCI crews use a variety of different equipment.

Snow plows with 18 to 22-foot wide rubber blades are used along the runway, which has pavement sensors to detect the temperatures on the runways.

“Each runway is about two miles long and so we could have these real-time to determine what these pavement temperatures are to help time treatments and various spots,” McBride said. “We try to tackle frozen precipitation here at the airport.”

McBride said large plows go down the runway in staggered formation.

“We call a conga line and push the snow to the side, brush it off with a large brushes and then we have very large snow blowers that will pile to get that snow away from the edge so it won't (touch) any aircraft wings or block the lights there,” McBride said.

Ten steel and poly-bristled front rotary brooms, which are 20 feet wide, are also used during inclement weather.

“The brushes are used quite a bit because they can handle slush and snow,” McBride said. “And if a plow has gone by, they're kind of the last thing to brush everything away so they can be deployed in a lot of ways.”

The seven snow blowers used can remove up to 7,500 tons of snow an hour.

During inclement weather, it is strongly encouraged travelers check out to make sure flights have not been delayed or canceled.