AWIS- Airport Winter Information System
The aim of the AWIS project is the study and realization of a system for the prediction, monitoring and management of meteorological winter emergencies in airports. Winter is usually the worst period of the year both for roads and airports traffic. Weather forecast systems try to do their best to prevent major troubles. However, extreme winter conditions can sometimes blow in unexpectedly, as was the case in 2005-2006 winter, when sudden, heavy snowfall disrupted operations at every Italian airport for several hours. As a result, all the airports were closed to incoming traffic and many passengers had to spend the night at the airports. Similar problems occur on the roads. Several countries are trying to organize a Road Winter Information System.
This approach tries to put together information dealing with weather forecast, precipitation nowcasting, data of the road conditions, traffic, de-icing techniques, data both for maintenance people and for users and so on: a global system able to increase both the traffic safety and to help people to avoid traffic jams due to extreme winter conditions.
But today no Airport Winter Information System (AWIS) is available. Every airport tries to auto organize a weather forecast system, using some weather forecast provider, gives out by contract the snow removal service, tries to use the best de-icing products that the local winter “expert” knows and so on. When an extreme severe winter condition occur this empirical, un-scientific approach shows all its limits. So a good Airport Winter Information System (AWIS) could be the right approach to improve the safety and the comfort of the winter events and to overcome the inconveniences for passengers as lost time and money. It has been chosen to develop AWIS at Turin-Caselle airport that will be the first in the world to have a global system for winter events, carrying on the experience started with the Winter Olympic Games.
The AWIS Project will examine the following points:
- Comparison of road surface condition sensors under various conditions such as snow, ice, wet and low temperature;
- Analysis of different methods for microclimate weather and road surface conditions nowcasting based on these sensorial data, especially for critical event forecasting;
- Optimization of preventive maintenance strategies, such as spreading of de-icing substances;
- Distribution of these data to the airport administration and clients by means of modern communication networks;
- Optimization of the utilization of resources such as human resources and maintenance vehicles.
In this context several parameters are considered:
- Security of the user;
- Accessibility of the runway (delays, closure);
- Corrosion of maintenance vehicles and the road surface due to treatment with de-icing substances;
- Prevision of the surface conditions in order to organize maintenance activities just in time;
- Higher reliability of the control process of the surface of the runway;
- Higher trust of users in the control authorities.
Obviously, a great synergy has to exist between the airport management and the runway management. In this context an AWIS system is proposed, which includes the cooperation of:
in his quality as Airport management of the Turin Caselle airport,
as an expert in the production of winter maintenance vehicles,
as a producer of weather radars, Politecnico di Torino as a public research entity and Brillada Company as a civil engineering contractor specialized in the construction and maintenance of airport pavements.