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32 CHAPTER SEVEN PRESSURES TO KEEP THE RUNWAY OPEN The challenge of keeping the runway open during winter oper- Authority Figure Pressures ations is cited as one of the main factors of stress on equipment operators and management. Stress contributes to fatigue, which "ATCT asking about runway conditions and when things contributes to increased errors and the possibility of incur- will be clear of snow and usable." sions. This synthesis study sought to identify some of the fac- "Managers asking how come it isn't done yet, saying they tors that create pressure and a sense of urgency for equipment would have had it open already, even though equipment operators. One respondent summed up the pressures at his is broken down." very busy general aviation airport in the following way: "Management decision to keep airport open when sur- rounding destination airports are closed." One of the main factors is the length of the storm. If staff has "Aircraft waiting to take off or land." been plowing longer than 1012 hours, there is a sense of "Charter flight arrivals/departures." urgency to finish snow removal because fatigue begins to set in. "Airport, airline, and ATCT pressure to not close and Other factors that can contribute are holidays and the staff's resulting desire to get home. If plowing occurs overnight, there then to reopen quickly (numerous and repeated calls to is often a desire to finish as much area as possible before traffic snow removal commanders)." picks up the next morning. There can also be pressure from ten- "There have been times when conditions on the runway ants to have runways, taxiways and ramp areas cleared before are poor due to snow or ice accumulation, but staff was their scheduled departure. Even the Tower Controllers can pres- sure the staff to complete snow removal. Any time the main run- unable to plow the runway immediately because of the way is closed (which is the only runway with an ILS [instrument ATCT's need to land `just one more aircraft.' It puts the landing system]) for any reason (such as contaminant, a dis- Snowboss in a difficult position to either allow an oper- abled aircraft, etc.), there is tremendous internal and external ation when the runway conditions are poor, or make the pressure to do whatever necessary to get the runway open quickly and safely. decision to close the runway at the risk of antagonizing the ATCT and landing aircraft." TIME PRESSURES Economic Pressure A review of other survey responses highlight common themes "We constantly work to maintain and expand air service behind the sense of urgency: at our non-hub facility. Every flight delay and cancella- tion can have a negative multiplier effect on future air Customer Service Pressures service. This is always forefront in our minds when we shut down for snow removal." "Pressure by airline and tenants to remove snow from "Winter operations is an irregular or emergency opera- their operations." tion. For us, we operate with one runway versus our "Aircraft taking delays or canceling flights. Demands normal two parallel and we take air traffic delays as a by air carriers for better airfield conditions when you result. The urgency is to restore the airport to normal are doing the best for the situation that is present." operating conditions as quickly and safely as possible." "Corporate pilot expectations." "Impact of runway closures to the national ATC system." "While airline schedules are reduced in a snowstorm, "As a one runway airport, during the ski season with there is more pressure to run more flights. The faster that occasionally 150 GA jet operations, we receive consid- runways can be cleared, the more traffic can be accom- erable pressure as to how soon we will be open. Our modated. With aircraft at 85% load factors, we try very major problem is a heavy snow shower or squall and hard to keep our runways open so more of our customers very, very shortly after the sun is out and now everyone can get to their destinations. When we don't meet our is trying to come in or leave." goals, aircraft often hold and possibly divert, costing airlines money and customer inconvenience." Air Carrier Pressure "Other tenants' pressure, customer service mission in general. (How soon can you be done? How many staff "For our large-hub airport it is the inbound international members are working now?)" arrivals--Airport Ops knows what is on the horizon and