PHL Philadelphia International Airport

New Truck-Based Deicing Facility

The Project:

PHL recently completed a project to modernize the Central Deicing Facility (CDF), which centered on upgrading the existing facility to industry-level standards. The CDF is located on 35 acres at the western border of the Airport, adjacent to Cargo City. In the midst of a season marked by frequent freezing temperatures and winter precipitation, the upgrade is particularly welcome; as of February 7, 2018, CDF operations have de-iced 2,050 aircraft – that’s 700 more aircraft than the total count from the previous deicing season.

The Need:

The CDF had previously operated with 12 fixed hardstand booms and a small fleet of trucks. The deicing booms were approaching the limits of their useful life and rather than continue to repair or replace the existing equipment, the Division of Aviation (DOA) decided to convert the facility from a fixed hardstand boom deicing operation to an all-truck deicing facility.

The Work:

The transition to a truck deicing operation required reconfiguration of the previous deicing bay layout to allow for deicing trucks to safely maneuver around the aircraft. This reconfigured bay layout allows the DOA to create a flexible bay layout that can easily accommodate the current and future fleet of aircraft.

In order to accommodate the truck-based operation, the support facilities required modifications, as well as the addition of new support facilities including a 4,500 square feet independent crew building to meet the needs of the increased staff, conversion space for managerial offices or a flexible space for day-to-day use, HVAC improvements, and modifications to the control room for handicapped accessibility. A masonry vehicle maintenance building was also constructed to house maintenance bays, restrooms, equipment and storage areas.

The Result:

The new layout provides staging positions in five of the apron’s bays, which improves airside efficiency while optimizing flexibility during deicing operations. A 40-foot wide vehicle safety zone on both sides of each bay allows for adequate maneuverability for the trucks to be parked perpendicular to the bays without impacting any object free areas.