Burlington airport crews gear up for winter weather on the way

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Another early season snowstorm is on the way and it's sure to impact travel around the region over the next 24 hours. Highway crews are gearing up to clear the snow and so too are the folks who keep the Burlington airport open in storms.

Planes took off and landed at the Burlington International Airport Thursday with no problems. An now crews are geared up and ready to make sure it stays that way through the snow storm.

"I'm thinking when it starts snowing, I'm going to start a plan," said Travis Mott who works airfield maintenance at the airport.

Mott and crew are looking ahead to long nights behind the scenes so flights over the coming snowstorm and into the Thanksgiving travel period are safe and on time. "Keeping it free of debris and keeping it free of snow and keeping it safe for the traveling public," Mott said.

Like normal roads, Mott says ice is the biggest problem they face. Since they can't salt the runway, they instead they use a non-corrosive material for de-icing. "As soon as there is an inch on the ground we are out there with this," he said.

Mott's hanger is filled with big rigs that will do the job outside. That includes a 70-foot long multi-use truck. He says when driving, communication is key and that air traffic control keeps them in the loop of where to go. "You plow the heavy stuff, sweep the thinner stuff, and blow off the thinner stuff with the blowers in the rear," he said.

When the snow comes there will be three vehicles going up and down the almost two-mile runway to make make sure the it's safe and ready for planes to take off.

"We are geared up, we are rested and we are ready to go," said Director of Aviation Gene Richards. He says despite that readiness, travelers can face delays, and it might not be because of what's going on here in Vermont. "Typically it's never Burlington. It's the other airports because of heavy traffic, and when a little bit of weather can throw them off here our team is ready to go all the time and they keep that runway clean."

Back on the runway, Mott knows it's wheels up for a busy winter ahead. "We definitely got some long hours ahead of us but it's what we gotta do," he said.