New equipment to help airport clear snow faster

Officials at Indianapolis International Airport are dealing with tonight’s winter weather, while preparing for the possibility of delays and cancellations.

The weather has already affected flights to Denver and Chicago, where some 500 flights were cancelled Thursday. Officials were also preparing for the possibility of diverted flights from Chicago.

“We have to plan for 30 or 40 airplanes that could come in here, that could be diverted from O’Hare or Midway,” said Michael Medvescek, senior director or airport operations at Indianapolis International.

Airport officials are also looking forward to next year – eagerly awaiting the arrival of some new snow-clearing equipment, which is bigger, and much faster.

“It will reduce the time by fifty percent of equipment being on the runway,” Medvescek said.

The equipment will be ready next fall, in time for the 2013 winter season. It’s a five million dollar investment that airport officials hope will keep delays to a minimum.

“Indianapolis doesn’t get a lot of snow, but when it does, the whole city seems to shut down,” said traveler Jane Docherty. “So it’s kind of nice they’re getting more technology to clear the runways.”

In the meantime, airport officials are monitoring tonight’s weather closely.

“We have special chemicals we use… three times as expensive as any chemicals you use on the roadways, Medvescek said.

Still, many travelers are prepared for whatever comes their way.

“Whatever happens you’ve got to go with the flow,” said Docherty. “It’s Christmas, there are a lot of people flying.”

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