A Street King 660 and a Swingo 200+ have joined the winter maintenance and FOD (Foreign Object Debris) control fleet at Dublin Airport to help keep the airport’s environs operationally safe, clean and tidy.
Dublin Airport is one of Europe’s fastest growing with almost 30 million passengers last year, with some 224,000 aircraft movements from its runway system, making it the 14th busiest in the EU. Some five miles north of the city, it is the headquarters of the nation’s flag carrier, Aer Lingus, which accounts for 30% of the volume throughput. Other airlines include Ryanair, Cityjet, American Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Norwegian Air, while the two newest additions from the Far East are Cathay Pacific and Hainan Airlines.
The airport is the only capital city in Europe to offer border pre-clearance services to the United States which allows passengers that go through the process at Dublin to avoid the infamous immigration queues State-side. As such, the transfer market is a significant one for Dublin.
While Dublin to Heathrow is the busiest single route, passenger numbers grew by 19% on trans-Atlantic flights and were up by 20% to long haul destinations last year. The airport clearly has big ambitions with a significant capital expenditure budget planned for the next 10 years.
To keep the airport fully operational 24/7 365 days a year through even the severest conditions, the airport operates an extensive winter maintenance fleet that includes six jet sweepers, four de-icers, two glycol recovery vehicles, one snow blower and a considerable number of snow ploughs – more than two dozen at the last count.
However, the latest additions to the fleet are not exclusively winter maintenance vehicles but two new sweepers, the first the airport has operated from its main supplier.
Odhran McCann, Airfield Delivery Manager at Dublin Airport, explained the thinking behind the new initiative.
“We have a lot of confidence in Schmidt equipment and the aftersales and support service they provide around them. They respond very rapidly and pride themselves in the level of customer support they provide. They also deliver a very rapid response in terms of maintenance and parts, and this is very important to us to ensure that vehicle downtime is kept to an absolute minimum. So, when it came to looking for two new sweepers for both our air and landside operations, we were looking for two very robust pieces of equipment, capable of operating 24/7, 365 days a year – as well as being backed by the Schmidt level of aftersales support. Schmidt sweepers ticked all the boxes for us,” he added.
Dublin operates a 40-strong FOD (Foreign Object Debris) control unit so the two new sweepers were also likely to have multiple operators.
“For that reason, it was also important that they were easy to drive and operate, and the controls easy to use and simple to understand,” added Odhran McCann.
The Street King 660 handles the larger sweeping jobs both airside and landside, tackling larger areas including aprons, ramps, forecourts and car parks. Its smaller sibling, the Swingo, tackles some of the smaller more inaccessible areas that the SK660 cannot reach.
“They complement each other very well,” said Odhran McCann. “Initial feedback was very positive. With the SK660, our drivers like the ease of use, the clearly laid-out controls and its reliability.
“The Swingo operators, meanwhile, like the fact that the cab is quiet, comfortable, air conditioned and the machine is also very easy to control and manoeuvre. Although it’s still early days, we are very pleased with the results so far.”
Mike Moore, Key Account Manager Airport of Aebi Schmidt, commented: “Dublin Airport has been a Schmidt customer for more than a dozen years and we have always had a tremendous open and transparent business partnership with them. We pride ourselves in our aftersales support and we have worked very closely with their service engineers to ensure they are fully trained in all the operational aspects of our equipment to ensure they are working at maximum efficiency and reliability,” he said.
“We look forward to a long and mutually-rewarding business relationship,” he added.