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Snow prompts de-icing process at SLC Airport

Posted at 8:04 PM, Nov 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 23:56:07-05

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah—The holiday winter storm is packing a punch with travelers getting to their destination via airplane.

As the last line of safety before taking the runway, Salt Lake City International Airport has two companies that work to de-ice planes before takeoff.

"Very important, if you don't have it, you don't fly," said Randy Hubbell, General Manager of Integrated Deicing Services who handles six of the seven major airlines out of SLC. Delta provides de-icing services for it's more than 200 daily flights. IDS can de-ice nearly 100 planes per day.

IDS uses a two-fluid system by applying a 'type 1' solution to planes in an effort to remove contamination of snow and/or ice. A second solution, known as 'type 4' is applied after to give the initial solution a 'hold time.' This second application allows for the plane's exterior surface to withstand snow for roughly 35 to 40 minutes before takeoff. When the fluid drains off the plane and onto the ground, the fluid is collected in the drains below to be recycled.

"It provides them a clean, safe aircraft any kind of contaminants on the wing of an aircraft or what we call critical surfaces of the aircraft it could disrupt it," said Hubbell.

IDS takes anywhere from six to ten minutes to de-ice a plane. Those planes are typically filled with passengers during the de-icing process.

"It takes a little extra time and the reason we're doing it, we want to get you to your destinations safely," said Hubbell.