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Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:39 pm
by spantax
Yesterday 300+ flights cancelled, flights diverted to AMS, DUS... Hundreds of people having to sleep at the airport assisted by the Red Cross- Confusion and anger all over the place. Difficult to understand. Your (insider) views most welcome...

Re: BRUSSELS: WHY SUCH A BIG CHAOS WITH SO LITTLE SNOW?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:51 pm
by anstar
AMS was no better. I believe LHR and FRA also had problems. Sunday and Monday saw many cancellations and it wasn't just because of the snow but also the winds.

Re: BRUSSELS: WHY SUCH A BIG CHAOS WITH SO LITTLE SNOW?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:58 pm
by konrad
spantax wrote:
Yesterday 300+ flights cancelled, flights diverted to AMS, DUS... Hundreds of people having to sleep at the airport assisted by the Red Cross- Confusion and anger all over the place. Difficult to understand. Your (insider) views most welcome...


Most hub airports are running close to max capacity. Even Munich, which is well organized, has nice deicing facilities and a lot of snow clearing equipment will see the operations quickly go to hell when the snow fall requires the closing one of the runways for cleaning during arrival/departure banks. There is simply not enough reserve left in the system to deal with contingencies.

Re: BRUSSELS: WHY SUCH A BIG CHAOS WITH SO LITTLE SNOW?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:01 pm
by Momo1435
Same for AMS, so I doubt that any flights diverted to AMS from BRU, maybe some when it only just started snowing. At AMS people also had to sleep in departures hall 1 on field beds.

Why did it turn into chaos?

2 snowdays in a row like the last 2 days is very rare in the low countries. So even with the best intentions with all preparations that were taken these airports are not prepared for this kind of events. Just more and more problems / snow the moment you really would want to start to normalize operations. And when it turns into chaos you really have to stop everything to start over again, when it was time to do that it started snowing again.

Even today over 100 flights were cancelled at AMS as planes and crew were still stuck at other airports.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:12 pm
by airbazar
It's a little known fact that most large European cities get so little snow that stats aren't even worth keeping. Most of the snow in Europe falls where few people live, rather than in the big cities. As a result, big cities and airports alike have little snow removal capability. So it doesn't take much snow at all to cause chaos. A similar thing happened in Atlanta this past weekend.
Having said that, it really did not snow that much. Over here we'd call that "a dusting". If my memory doesn't fail me, events like this do happen at least once every year. I find it unacceptable that a major airport and economic driver like LHR/AMS/FRA don't invest enough to handle these situations, as rare as they may be. I can't imagine how much it must cost to shut down a hub like these for a couple of hours.

Re: BRUSSELS: WHY SUCH A BIG CHAOS WITH SO LITTLE SNOW?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:14 pm
by 76er
I wouldn’t say ‘so little snow’. Yes, snowfall in the low countries was only about 20cm over 2 days. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the most accumulation in such a short period I have seen locally since I was a kid. And I’m 52 now...
AMS has 2 full sets of snowclearing equipment but just could not keep up. Konrad sums it up pretty well.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:01 pm
by Kiwirob
spantax wrote:
Yesterday 300+ flights cancelled, flights diverted to AMS, DUS... Hundreds of people having to sleep at the airport assisted by the Red Cross- Confusion and anger all over the place. Difficult to understand. Your (insider) views most welcome...


Because they aren't Russians or Scandinavians. On the other hand one snowflake will shut down LHR.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:08 pm
by spantax
Thank you for all your comments. And yes, the second, natural question is, how do they do in Canada, Russia, Scandinavia...? (and BTW, I was on one of those diverted planes. The captain told us that the first option on his list, AMS, was full of parked aircraft, so he headed to DUS; thus I assumed that technically AMS was doable at that moment)

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:23 pm
by sassiciai
BRU closed yesterday at about 10am, AMS was quite a bit later (if it actually shut completely). Yesterday's weather had an unusual conjunction of snow, wind, and air temperature of just above freezing! So it was much more than snow ploughs moving snow - the runways were iced! The aircraft were iced! Today the wind is all but absent, the temperature is as yesterday, and it has been snowing lightly all day - BRU is fully operational

Yesterday late afternoon, SN BA decided to cancel all its flights to European destinations, in order to prioritise its intercontinental flights to America, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent.

No airport that is not very accustomed to heavy snow and ice conditions frequently has enough de-icing equipment and ploughs to keep a normally busy airport operational through harsh weather.

I'm sure the travelling public, even those affected yesterday, would be unhappy to have to pay an extra few euro per flight in order to improve the airport's resilience in the 1 day per year (or less) of bad winter weather

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:39 pm
by flyguy84
BRU has a very inadequate deicing program. Understaffed and under equipped. It’s always a hot mess when it snows.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:45 pm
by Tedd
Kiwirob wrote:
spantax wrote:
Yesterday 300+ flights cancelled, flights diverted to AMS, DUS... Hundreds of people having to sleep at the airport assisted by the Red Cross- Confusion and anger all over the place. Difficult to understand. Your (insider) views most welcome...


Because they aren't Russians or Scandinavians. On the other hand one snowflake will shut down LHR.


Hey! Don`t forget N. Americans, the US & Canada do a great job too.
In the UK we like to turn crisis into a catastrophe.......we love it!

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:45 pm
by Geoff1947
Airports that get infrequent snowfall usually don’t spend on snowploughs, so get hit hard when it does snow.

Geoff

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:03 pm
by spantax
Geoff1947 wrote:
Airports that get infrequent snowfall usually don’t spend on snowploughs, so get hit hard when it does snow.

Geoff


Well, if you are right, that's the point. But I presume there should be ICAO rules on snow-removal equipment and so on. Thus, are these rules not complied with at BRU?

I've just seen on the news that a couple hundred of people are going to spend a SECOND !! night at the airport hall, their flights being delayed until further notice... What a shame.

Re: BRUSSELS: WHY SUCH A BIG CHAOS WITH SO LITTLE SNOW?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:19 pm
by airbazar
76er wrote:
I wouldn’t say ‘so little snow’. Yes, snowfall in the low countries was only about 20cm over 2 days. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the most accumulation in such a short period I have seen locally since I was a kid. And I’m 52 now...
AMS has 2 full sets of snowclearing equipment but just could not keep up. Konrad sums it up pretty well.

I doubt very much that 20cm fell in LHR, BRU, AMS, FRA. 2cm is more likely. In all the pictures and videos that I saw, the snow didn't even cover the grass.
I can't even find an official report on how much snow it fell because it must have been so little, bordering on the unmeasurable.
Brussels only got 2cm of snow and they're calling it "heavy snowfall". What a joke.
http://www.novinite.com/articles/186107 ... y+Snowfall
A better explanation for the delays must be the lack of de-icing capability.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:56 pm
by Waterbomber
It was actually more than just a little bit of snow.
I was in Brussels just as it started to happen. I was driving and at first it was raining and the temperature was showing 1°C. That in itself was weird as it should have been snowing. Then the temperature dropped to -1°C and it was still raining at first, and then it started to snow.
As I see it, it was freezing rain followed by snow that caused the chaos. Also, it was not forecasted so they didn't prepare for it.
The supercooled droplets cooled the roads in no time, and the snow just settled in without melting at all.

Everyone thinks that it was the snow that caused the issues but actually it's a thin layer of ice from the freezing rain. I also slid with my car lightly against a curb, even though there was only 5cm of snow. I realised that actually there was a layer of ice beneath the snow that caused me to lose grip completely despite my winter kits.

Many airports contract the snow clearing services out, but it needs to be forecasted to be able to call the contractors in.
The forecast was rain and melting snow, so no reason to call them in.

BRU is collecting 30 some euro's from each departing pax, so it should be a little better prepared, and not take any chances with weather forecasts, especially with temperatures around freezing.

Re: BRUSSELS: WHY SUCH A BIG CHAOS WITH SO LITTLE SNOW?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:05 pm
by SCQ83
airbazar wrote:
76er wrote:
I wouldn’t say ‘so little snow’. Yes, snowfall in the low countries was only about 20cm over 2 days. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the most accumulation in such a short period I have seen locally since I was a kid. And I’m 52 now...
AMS has 2 full sets of snowclearing equipment but just could not keep up. Konrad sums it up pretty well.

I doubt very much that 20cm fell in LHR, BRU, AMS, FRA. 2cm is more likely. In all the pictures and videos that I saw, the snow didn't even cover the grass.
I can't even find an official report on how much snow it fell because it must have been so little, bordering on the unmeasurable.
Brussels only got 2cm of snow and they're calling it "heavy snowfall". What a joke.
http://www.novinite.com/articles/186107 ... y+Snowfall
A better explanation for the delays must be the lack of de-icing capability.


I was in Brussels over the weekend and indeed it was a joke to call that heavy snow. Just some snowflakes. A typical Fall day in New York or Massachusetts. I was lucky I flew out of Charleroi which was not closed (probably being South of Brussels has higher temperature) and my flight left with only 30 minutes late... who says Ryanair airports are inconvenient? :) Granted the ride on TUIFly's tiny Embraer over France was a bumpy one because it was also very windy over most of Europe.

I have the feeling that under those circumstances, small airports tend to fare better than big hubs in Europe. Probably the de-icing and snow clearing equipment is not enough for big airports like LHR, AMS or BRU see, however in a relatively small airports like CRL they manage to get along with it.

Re: BRUSSELS: WHY SUCH A BIG CHAOS WITH SO LITTLE SNOW?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:05 pm
by sassiciai
airbazar wrote:
76er wrote:
I wouldn’t say ‘so little snow’. Yes, snowfall in the low countries was only about 20cm over 2 days. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the most accumulation in such a short period I have seen locally since I was a kid. And I’m 52 now...
AMS has 2 full sets of snowclearing equipment but just could not keep up. Konrad sums it up pretty well.

I doubt very much that 20cm fell in LHR, BRU, AMS, FRA. 2cm is more likely. In all the pictures and videos that I saw, the snow didn't even cover the grass.
I can't even find an official report on how much snow it fell because it must have been so little, bordering on the unmeasurable.
Brussels only got 2cm of snow and they're calling it "heavy snowfall". What a joke.
http://www.novinite.com/articles/186107 ... y+Snowfall
A better explanation for the delays must be the lack of de-icing capability.

I live closer to Brussels than you do, obviously. (I am 20km to the South). You saw a few photos. My adult children went to/from their work in and around Brussels yesterday, and I can tell you, there was substantially more than the 2cm that you claim. Record-breaking traffic jams, airport stuck like seldom before, city transport system paralyzed - and you believe everything served up to you in the written word that this was all caused by a dusting of snow.

I'm disappointed by your lack of appreciation of the Brussels city and airport services, and total failure to appreciate that sometimes, BAD WEATHER happens.

As mentioned earlier, Brussels was subjected to a conjunction of snow, wind, and "just-above-freezing air temperature" yesterday. Maybe give that some thought, and open your mind.

What airports can you tell us about that can deice all aircraft that normally depart each hour at peak time?

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:13 pm
by United787
Tedd wrote:
Hey! Don`t forget N. Americans, the US & Canada do a great job too.


Just to clarify, states and cities north of the Mason-Dixon line... or even further north than that...

Re: BRUSSELS: WHY SUCH A BIG CHAOS WITH SO LITTLE SNOW?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:56 pm
by PatrickZ80
airbazar wrote:
I doubt very much that 20cm fell in LHR, BRU, AMS, FRA. 2cm is more likely. In all the pictures and videos that I saw, the snow didn't even cover the grass.
I can't even find an official report on how much snow it fell because it must have been so little, bordering on the unmeasurable.
Brussels only got 2cm of snow and they're calling it "heavy snowfall". What a joke.
http://www.novinite.com/articles/186107 ... y+Snowfall
A better explanation for the delays must be the lack of de-icing capability.


For sure it was far more than 2 cm of snow. I live in the Netherlands, about 70 km from Amsterdam and there was about 15 to 20 cm of snow. For the Netherlands, that's a lot of snow.

You may claim it on the lack of de-icing capability, but that's very logical. De-icing equipment is expensive and snowfall is quite rare in the Netherlands so it would rarely be used. Better accept the delays and cancelations the very few times it happens, that's still cheaper than investing in equipment that might only be used once per year or something like that. Some winters it would not be used at all, but it still costs money.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:31 pm
by Bongodog1964
The snow we had here was exceedingly heavy stuff, just on the white side of slush. I broke the wiper blades off a car as it was so heavy. Never done that before in 35 years of driving.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:54 pm
by vadheim
‘’Thank you for all your comments. And yes, the second, natural question is, how do they do in Canada, Russia, Scandinavia...? (and BTW, I was on one of those diverted planes. The captain told us that the first option on his list, AMS, was full of parked aircraft, so he headed to DUS; thus I assumed that technically AMS was doable at that moment)’’

Watch this CNN Report: Oslo Gardermoen Airport/OSL (Norway)

https://youtu.be/H1vQzKlQ-Hg

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:31 am
by ilyagran
LHR was open throughout Sunday, but the whole place got gridlocked pretty quickly as deicing was slow and many cancelled flights did't leave the gates, so incoming flights couldn't get in, blocking taxiways and not letting other flights to depart. I think this mostly happened around T5, as long haul operations of other airlines seem to be running fine.

Re: BRUSSELS: WHY SUCH A BIG CHAOS WITH SO LITTLE SNOW?

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:45 pm
by SomebodyInTLS
Momo1435 wrote:
Same for AMS, so I doubt that any flights diverted to AMS from BRU, maybe some when it only just started snowing. At AMS people also had to sleep in departures hall 1 on field beds.


I know for a fact that KLM was not accepting any inbound passengers for connections at AMS yesterday! O&D only...

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:11 pm
by Mortyman
I for one think it's irresponsible for big international airports to have such poor routines and Equipment for snow clearance. Some would argue that it cost too much to have the Equipment standing ready at a moments notice, but it cosrt alot With flight delays/ cancellations too.

Re: BRUSSELS: WHY SUCH A BIG CHAOS WITH SO LITTLE SNOW?

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:09 pm
by airbazar
sassiciai wrote:
I live closer to Brussels than you do, obviously. (I am 20km to the South). You saw a few photos. My adult children went to/from their work in and around Brussels yesterday, and I can tell you, there was substantially more than the 2cm that you claim. Record-breaking traffic jams, airport stuck like seldom before, city transport system paralyzed - and you believe everything served up to you in the written word that this was all caused by a dusting of snow.

I didn't claim 2cm. The news article that I posted claimed the 2cm. And yes, here where I live 2cm is considered a dusting, and yes I have personally seen LHR come to complete halt with a mere dusting. And the 20cm that some people are claiming to have seen are likely to be snow drifts. Much like water follows the path of least resistance, so does falling snow. On the roads it gets pushed aside by passing cars and piles on. Airports, with their wide open airfields tend to accumulate a lot less snow than even the towns that they're situated on because the snow blows away.

sassiciai wrote:
What airports can you tell us about that can deice all aircraft that normally depart each hour at peak time?

Humm, where should I start? I live in Boston and on that same day we received 6" of snow and the airport never missed a beat.

Waterbomber wrote:
Everyone thinks that it was the snow that caused the issues but actually it's a thin layer of ice from the freezing rain. I also slid with my car lightly against a curb, even though there was only 5cm of snow. I realised that actually there was a layer of ice beneath the snow that caused me to lose grip completely despite my winter kits.

Yes, ice is a whole different beast. The roads need to be pre-treated before the ice starts to fall and even then, it might not work.

Mortyman wrote:
I for one think it's irresponsible for big international airports to have such poor routines and Equipment for snow clearance. Some would argue that it cost too much to have the Equipment standing ready at a moments notice, but it cosrt alot With flight delays/ cancellations too.

That was my point exactly. To say, we don't need snow/ice equipment because it only happens once or twice a year would be like northern airport saying, we don't need air conditioning in the terminals because it's only hot once or twice a year :)

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:50 pm
by sassiciai
Thanks for the comments, airbazar. I don't want to get into any further argument with you, so I will take a step back instead

This is an obvious problem for many airports where there are occasional severe weather conditions that impact operations. Maybe the problem is that the impact of the conditions is borne mainly by one party, while the possible solution is provided by a different party. It is generally the airlines that will suffer the most from cancellations/diversions/and the like, not the airport operator. Yet it is up to the airport operator to provide the means to cope with the adverse conditions. In theory, SN Brussels Airlines could invest in deicing rigs, and snow ploughing vehicles of their own, but obviously that is quite stupid. Alternatively, the airport operator doubles or triples its investment in such equipment, and passes on the costs in increased charges to the airlines!

It is therefore commercial agreements between airlines and airport operators that will mainly determine the level of available equipment to cope with adverse conditions. Most commercial organisations will be willing to take a calculated risk to avoid investing in equipment that might rust to death before it is needed again! So it comes down to statistical info on frequency of such events. Where it happens every year for 3 or 4 months of the year, they are super-equipped and ready. Where it last happened 4 years ago, they are not well prepared to cope. So the Warsaw's and Boston's of this world will cope with winter, Brussels and London will not cope anywhere as well

I went through a painful day some years ago at CDG when the airport was hit by a major snowfall, with the added problem of ice. The airport was sufficiently equipped to deice 2 747s at a time, an operation that took about 15 minutes for each aircraft. That restricted departures to about 2 heavies - maybe 3 or 4 smaller aircraft - each 15 minutes. My SIA flight to SIN was sufficiently delayed that the crew timed-out and were forced to stop in Bangkok! (By the way, how many aircraft can be simultaneously deiced in Boston, such that traffic flow is not at all impacted?)

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:07 pm
by angelopga
I was affected by the snow, Sunday my flight arrived 2h50m late, and i lost my connecting flight. Monday, my flight departed 2h20m late. What a weekend.

Re: BRUSSELS: WHY SUCH A BIG CHAOS WITH SO LITTLE SNOW?

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:31 pm
by WIederling
airbazar wrote:
...


Don't the Brits mostly get that soggy instantly compacted to some icy glitshy stuff kind of snow?

Here the first day in the season with some snow usually ends in mad driver syndrome.
Lots of (unnecessary) road crashes.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:33 pm
by luchtzak
A temperature of zero or -1C and snowfall is not that easy to deal with than a good hard frost (-25C). When it’s zero degrees, it’s moist and there will be ice.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:33 pm
by sassiciai
I am not an expert in ICAO regulations or other regulations on airport operators (there will be local national regulations that cover some/much of this). There are regulations, I am sure, about many aspects of airport equipment and its performance, such as ILS, autoland capability, fire fighting equipment levels, and a lot more besides

Are there any regulations concerning equipment levels to cope with adverse weather conditions (in particular, snow and ice)? Is this completely at the discretion of the Airport Operator?

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:55 pm
by KarelXWB
Waterbomber wrote:
It was actually more than just a little bit of snow.
I was in Brussels just as it started to happen. I was driving and at first it was raining and the temperature was showing 1°C. That in itself was weird as it should have been snowing. Then the temperature dropped to -1°C and it was still raining at first, and then it started to snow.


Lol, temperatures drop to -1°C in Belgium and the Netherlands and our infrastructure can't handle it anymore.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:10 pm
by KarelXWB
spantax wrote:
I've just seen on the news that a couple hundred of people are going to spend a SECOND !! night at the airport hall, their flights being delayed until further notice... What a shame.


While I cannot speak for BRU, the same mess was present at AMS. But here's the thing: we had the first real snow since 6-8 years or so. And when it snows, it snows for just a few days per year. So from a business perspective, it doesn't make much sense to invest a lot of money in snow equipment. A few hundred people sleeping at the airport for two days is a rather small issue compared to the millions of people that transit through AMS every year.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:34 pm
by Jetty
For the same reason many de-icers at AMS are volunteers that have an office job at the airport. It's not hard too see how full-timers at Nordic airports are a bit more efficient.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:38 pm
by ME720
Bottom line, avoid both airports in winter! Connect at airports equipped to deal with
North European winter weather!

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:09 pm
by KLDC10
ME720 wrote:
Bottom line, avoid both airports in winter! Connect at airports equipped to deal with
North European winter weather!


Lobbying for SAS and/or Finnair? ;)
But seriously; in principle, I agree with you, but transiting through a large airport like CDG, BRU, LHR or AMS is often unavoidable. The problems at the latter three airports during snowfall are well known and documented. If you're traveling during winter, you just have to "roll the dice" so to speak, and hope that your flight operates on a day without disruption.

Of course, it is easy to argue that the amount of disruption is small compared to overall airport movements during a given year, but in the eyes of disrupted passengers it is (justifiably) viewed as unacceptable that major international airports are improperly equipped to deal with snow. Not to mention that the knock-on disruption tends to last for days afterwards.

Someone mentioned Boston earlier in the thread - I would have to agree that the operation at Logan is admirable.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:57 pm
by NickolayAv
KLDC10 wrote:
Someone mentioned Boston earlier in the thread - I would have to agree that the operation at Logan is admirable.

Boston is expected to receive a lot of snow tomorrow, up to 1 foot of snow. Going to be interesting to see how Logan will deal with it.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:32 pm
by sassiciai
I'll bet that a comparison of the snow/ice equipment available at Boston, Amsterdam and Brussels would make an interesting read, and go a long way to explain why one copes better than the others

Investment cost? Annual operating cost? How is the cost recouped?

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:14 pm
by KLDC10
sassiciai wrote:
I'll bet that a comparison of the snow/ice equipment available at Boston, Amsterdam and Brussels would make an interesting read, and go a long way to explain why one copes better than the others

Investment cost? Annual operating cost? How is the cost recouped?


Here is an interesting article from 2015 about the operation at Boston: http://www.aviationpros.com/article/120 ... -blizzards

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:20 pm
by eisenbach
KLDC10 wrote:
ME720 wrote:
Bottom line, avoid both airports in winter! Connect at airports equipped to deal with
North European winter weather!


Lobbying for SAS and/or Finnair? ;)


Even in Finland I experienced major delays during a snow storm, de-icing was the bottle neck - so not everything is rosy up north ;-)

In November I was invited as an observer at a large scale snow removal exercise in FRA (during the curfew hours). It is really a challenge to organize snow removal of a large airport with so much equipment and different people. Please keep as well in mind, that it needs 20-30mins to clean a large runway. These minutes are missing badly at high-frequency airports and delays are not avoidable!

At smaller (not slot constrained) airports where you have just some planes per hour, it doesn't matter to close a runway for half an hour.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:27 pm
by Jalap
KarelXWB wrote:
Waterbomber wrote:
It was actually more than just a little bit of snow.
I was in Brussels just as it started to happen. I was driving and at first it was raining and the temperature was showing 1°C. That in itself was weird as it should have been snowing. Then the temperature dropped to -1°C and it was still raining at first, and then it started to snow.


Lol, temperatures drop to -1°C in Belgium and the Netherlands and our infrastructure can't handle it anymore.

Well I wouldn't be so harsh. That was a very messy day! First fairly clean snow, then rain on the snow, then again snow. Accumulation came very fast. Roads had patches of several centimeters of ice, clean patches, soggy snow all over. So tricky I slid off the road at 20km/h and parked a car against a tree (luckily minor damage and no injuries). Riding a bike in my city was impossible. Believe me, I tried, mostly had to walk and on the way had to help push cars out of their parking space or on streets going up like 1%.

These were exceptional circumstances, you just can't be prepared for everything.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:12 am
by traindoc
I flew thru BRU in January 2016 when it was actively snowing. Operations were slowed down a little, but no major cancellations. However, there was no ice and the winds were not an issue. Sounds like this was the "perfect" storm. I have 2 trips thru BRU later this month, so I hope this is a "one off" event!

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:04 am
by Balerit
Sounds like black ice was the problem.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:44 am
by SKAirbus
I was caught in the mess at BRU and it was embarrassing as someone who lives in Belgium.

I had a flight booked BRU-OSL and was in the lounge for several hours before they finally decided to cancel the flight. The queues for the ticket desks in Pier A were over 200m long and the situation was similar in the baggage hall and check-in hall. I waited three hours for my checked-in luggage to be returned to me but it didn't come so I finally gave up, went home and made a missing bag report.

I then tried for hours to get through to the Brussels Airlines call centre but the number cut me off when I tried to call. Finally, I thought "SN is owned by LH so I wonder if they can help me". So I called LH's call centre and chose the German language option and got straight through. They changed my flight to BRU-HAM-OSL the next morning on a confirmed ticket and even upgraded me. Passengers who had waited for 5-6 hours at the airport to be rebooked at the ticket desk were (apparently) only offered standby tickets meaning that coming to the airport the next day was a risk. I was very lucky.

I finally got my suitcase back 6 days later. I had to travel to Oslo with hand luggage.

The thing that angers me most about this is that Brussels Airport were boasting on social media about how they rehearse their "winter procedures" every month but not at one point during the many hours I was sat at the airport did I see a de-icing truck, snow plough of treatment of the runways going on. I understand that the conditions of the snow may have been more difficult but BRU did not even try to clear the runways that day. In addition, they kept insisting the airport was open but I have a friend who is a private pilot and he checked the NOTAMs, which confirmed the airport was indeed closed.

All for 2-3cm of snow. Luckily the trains were still running so I could go home. I felt really bad for the people who were forced to spend the night at the airport, especially those in transit.

Most flights seems to be diverted to Liège or Charleroi. Antwerp and Oostende were also badly affected by the weather.

I live in Belgium and Belgian customer service is some of the worst on the continent. Normally I don't mind, but the closure/cancellation was made worse but there being no one at BRU or SN who knew what they were doing. Weather happens and although it may not snow so much here, they should at least have a well-rehearsed plan to deal with these situations.

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:38 pm
by admanager
NickolayAv wrote:
KLDC10 wrote:
Someone mentioned Boston earlier in the thread - I would have to agree that the operation at Logan is admirable.

Boston is expected to receive a lot of snow tomorrow, up to 1 foot of snow. Going to be interesting to see how Logan will deal with it.

To follow up; not well. The only flights not showing cancelled are intercontinental flights which will likely yet be diverted. Now this isn't just a couple inches of snow it's a full blown "Bomb Cyclone"

Re: Brussels: Why such a big chaos with so little snow

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:54 pm
by KarelXWB
Looking at the chaos in New York, apparently more airports in the world are having issues dealing with snow.

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