Although the airport has enough equipment to de-ice 3,411 square metres in just twenty minutes, ice on runways and on aircraft can still cause problems for air traffic. Last winter, the airport suffered for a number of hours under a weather situation in which handling companies were unable to de-ice an airplane fast enough to finish before it simply froze up again. Safety always comes first, so aircraft are grounded in situations like this.
In cases of sleet or freezing rain, the airport's Traffic Department decides as early on as possible how air traffic should be handled. A special vehicle tests the friction value, i.e. the frictional resistance, on the runways to provide continual updates on conditions. The computer equipment in the vehicle automatically sends the information to pilots, air traffic control and the airport's operational centre.
To remove the ice on the apron and the runways, environmentally friendly de-icing agents called formates are used, products that bear the "swan mark" of approval from Denmark's Environmental Protection Agency.
Handling companies SAS Ground Services and Nordic Aero are in charge of de-icing the aircraft, whilst Copenhagen Airport handles removing the ice from aprons, taxiways and runways.
To learn more about how aircraft are de-iced, click here.