When the temperature drops, airport operations can be impacted

Freezing equipment 

It takes a lot of equipment to service a plane, such as tugs, bag carts and belt loaders. As cold temperatures can affect equipment and hydraulics, a lot of this equipment must be heated up to work properly. 

Outdoor workers 

Cold weather can be tough, especially on outdoor workers. When a plane arrives at a gate, and until it departs for its next flight, there is a ground crew working to service the plane.  
They are responsible for tasks such as loading and unloading baggage, refuelling, and guiding planes to the gate. Double-digit lows are challenging for these airport workers and can be dangerous if they’re outside for a long time. Extreme cold can impair their ability to work safely and make it more difficult to operate machinery used to move heavy loads or unload aircraft. To break up the time spent outside, workers have breaks in between incoming or outgoing flights to warm up in sheltered areas. Outdoor crews are also outfitted with winter gloves, coats and hats so that they’re prepared for the elements. 

Due to these challenges, there can sometimes be delays in winter, even if there’s no snow or freezing rain. If travelling on a day with a forecast for extremely cold weather, make sure to pack some patience as crews safely work to get your plane off the ground.  

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