Case Studies

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick is the UK’s second largest airport and the busiest single-runway airport in the world serving around 33 million passengers each year. Gatwick Airport operates a fleet of 23 Multihogs, both MH and MX models both airside and landside during the winter months. 2 units complete winter services duties landside in car parking and forecourt areas, with the remaining 21 machines operating airside on the apron for efficient stand clearance.

In recent years Gatwick invested £8 million in new snow clearing equipment – doubling the size of its snow kit to 95 vehicles. As part of this investment, the airport was focused on finding a method of clearing snow and ice from around aircraft parked at stands, which ideally required a smaller machine than the tractors that had traditionally been used for this task.

“We were looking for something compact and manoeuvrable which could access the whole of the stand area for efficient clearance”, says Airfield Operations Safety Standards and Training Manager David Charman. “We liked what we saw on the Multihog website and were even more impressed when we saw it in action at a demo here on site. Its powerful hydraulics enable it to be fitted with implements both front and rear, which is a great benefit, as the tractors could only operate with front attachments.”

Gatwick’s Multihogs are fitted with combi snow plough & brush units on the front, developed according to Gatwick’s requirements, and 1200 litre de-icing sprayers on the rear (salt spreaders for the landside vehicles). David comments: “We had recognised the ‘combi’ as the most effective solution for initial ploughing and final sweeping, and Multihog have a very ‘can do’ philosophy towards customer initiatives – their designers quickly came up with the exact specifications that we wanted. Together with the rear attachments we have in effect a ‘3 in 1 machine’ at our disposal.”

Gatwick’s repair and maintenance team underwent workshop training at Multihog’s manufacturing facility in Ireland to ensure the smooth running of the fleet, and extra airport personnel have been trained to operate the vehicles should weather conditions be particularly severe. David says, “We have had nothing  but positive experiences with Multihog since we embarked on this project. During the very heavy snow in early 2013 the Multihogs performed exceptionally well – they were still going strong after four days of non-stop 24 hour operation. The machines were all delivered on schedule, Multihog were very accommodating to our demands, and we now have a system in place that helps to minimise disruption to passengers both airside and landside. The Multihogs’ all-seasonal ability also means that we will be looking at further applications for the warmer months.”