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Weather is a daily concern in airport operations and lightning is considered a top threat. How can you improve safety and efficiency in your operations? 

Airports are susceptible to all sorts of weather threats, everything from fog and extreme temperatures to icing events and lightning strikes. It can dangerous for ground crews, pilots, FBOs, and maintenance workers to perform their jobs under severe weather conditions. On top of that, studies have shown that manually stopping and starting operations leads to longer delays.

To improve both efficiency and safety, you need automated weather monitoring and alerting solutions. 

Do you have the tools in place to face this year's severe weather challenges? 

This Weather Management Solutions for Airport Operations Buying Guide will help you review and improve your weather safety plan, determine which weather monitoring and alerting tools you need to support your plan, and help you evaluate those tools. 

Key takeaways: 

  • Learn about the 3 stages of developing an effective weather safety policy
  • Get an overview of monitoring and alerting technology available to support smooth airport operations
  • Tips for selecting the right weather services vendor to support ongoing weather safety

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction to Weather Management Solutions for Airport Operations

  • Three Stages of Developing an Effective Weather Policy

    • Stage One: Analyze

    • Stage Two: Plan

    • Stage Three: Implement

  • Key Features of a Weather Management Solution

    • Lightning Alert Siren & Strobe
    • Real-Time Weather Map & Mobile App
    • Custom, On-Demand Forecasting Support
    • Information Displays

  • Selecting the Right Weather Services Vendor

  • BONUS: Printable 2-Page Planning Worksheet


Introduction to Weather Management Solutions for Airport Operations

Severe weather impacts all aspects of airport operations including safety and on time performance. As an airport, airline, or fixed-based operator, your job is to balance weather safety while minimizing the impact of weather-related air travel delays. The best way to accomplish this is with a comprehensive, professional-grade weather management solution.

Some smaller airports and airlines may not have any sort of professional-grade weather monitoring or alerting in place whereas the larger outfits may go so far as to employ their own meteorologists! No matter which category you fall into, it’s always a good idea to evaluate what you’re currently doing and look for ways to improve.

This guide will teach you how plan for severe weather with an effective weather policy and how to support that policy with advanced technology. If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to keep everyone in the air, on the tarmac, and in the maintenance hangar safe from lightning, wind, and other forms of disruptive severe weather while optimizing your operations.

Download the Weather Management Solutions for Airport Operations Buying Guide

Three Stages of Developing an Effective Weather Policy

Balancing your weather-related priorities starts with a solid plan. Over the last 25 years, we’ve found that an effective approach to mitigating weather risks includes three easy-to-remember stages: Analyze, Plan, and Implement.

We’ve included some key questions you need to ask for each stage to ensure across-the-board severe weather preparedness for your airport operations. Head to the end of this guide for a print-ready worksheet to help you map out your plan. Use this space to jot down notes, questions, and names of parties you need to follow up with.


Key Features of an Airport Operations Weather Management System

A weather-ready airport, airline, or FBO relies heavily on thorough safety protocols, advanced monitoring and alerting technologies, and the established expertise of professional meteorologists.

Most airport operation organizations build up their weather management toolkit with some combination of the following:

  1. Lightning Alert Siren & Strobe
  2. Real-Time Weather Map & Mobile App
  3. Custom, On-Demand Forecasting Support
  4. Information Displays


Lightning Alert Siren & Strobe System

Increasingly, airports, airlines, and FBOs are deploying automated lightning siren and strobe systems for mass notification indoors and outdoors. These automatic systems take human error out of the weather management equation to improve safety and increase efficiency when responding to a weather event.

While basic horns with 110dB alerts are enough for outdoor operations like schools and parks, these sounds can get lost at a noisy airport. Lightning strobe systems are necessary because their flashing lights don’t have to compete with the noise of a busy airport and clearly indicate to ground crew and maintenance that it’s not safe to resume at-risk activities.

  • Systems that use robust network-based weather detection technology to pull information from vast networks. Unlike single-node tools, network-based weather solutions capture information from multiple sources for a clearer picture of actual weather conditions that increases the accuracy of alerts

  • The latest systems provide a countdown clock so that decision-makers can clearly see how much longer they must wait to resume operations and communicate that information to all involved stakeholders

  • Lightning alert systems that have customizable alert ranges so you can set your own lightning parameters

  • Systems that support multi-channel alerting with email, text, and/or push alerts for added redundancy to the sirens and strobes


Up Next: Real-Time Weather Map & Mobile App

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