Should Airports Have Heated Runways?

There are no firm estimates of what it would cost to heat runways. Most of the expense comes from operating the systems, not from installing them. So much energy is required that they’ve only been appropriate for limited pavement areas, said Chris Oswald, vice president of safety and regulatory affairs at Airports Council International, an industry group representing airports. “They really aren’t feasible as replacements for conventional winter” snow removal, he said.
“Nobody looks at what it costs not to do it,” said Alex Wilcox, an early executive of JetBlue Airways and now chief executive of a private jet firm. He got stuck with his 9-year-old daughter for 12 hours on Jan. 3 at New York’s Kennedy International Airport when the departure time of his JetBlue flight kept getting pushed back, he said, because airport plows couldn’t keep up. He began thinking then of the tens of millions of dollars that might be saved with heated runways. “To me, it’s pretty simple math,” said Mr. Wilcox, who suggests passengers would willingly pay $1 extra in airport facility charges to fund heated runways.
The full pros and cons from The Wall Street Journal.


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