Great Falls International Airport's snowplows working 24/7 to ke - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Great Falls International Airport's snowplows working 24/7 to keep runways clear

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On any given day, upwards of 50 flights can come in and out of Great Falls International Airport.


Even when there is inclement weather, the planes still need to keep flying. So the airport has a lot of work to do to keep the runway clean of snow.

We work around the clock plowing the snow continuously to keep the surfaces clean for the aircraft, said Rod Hill, Assistant Director of Operations.

The snow sweepers and plows are constantly moving, even if a plane is landing or taking off.

The drivers will spend 12 hours in the cab of their runway sweepers and can drive upwards of 200 miles in a single shift to make sure your flight continues on time. The drivers rotate between 12-hour shifts from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and vice versa. 

The reason for using brushes and not plows is because it cleans the surfaces better than a traditional plow, and can throw the snow farther.

We do most of our snow removal with the brooms on the runway and taxiways just to keep the surfaces as clean as possible, said Hill.

With seven machines running at a time and planes to watch out for, the tower coordinates the efforts and uses radio to tell drivers when and where to get off the runways.


There can be just minutes between planes so the drivers have to act quickly to ensure the plane lands or takes off on a clear runway.

Everything we do we get permission from the tower to be on the different surfaces, the runways the taxiways and whatnot, said Hill

As the snow keeps falling, the crews will continue to work round the clock to keep your flights from being delayed.

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