AD 1.2  Rescue and fire fighting services and snow plan

1.   Rescue and fire fighting services

1.1  At public aerodromes approved for scheduled and/or non-scheduled traffic with aircraft carrying passengers, rescue and firefighting services are established in accordance with ICAO standards and regulations for civil aviation.
1.2  For the convenience of aircraft operators the relationship of the aerodrome category for rescue and firefighting to individual aeroplane is summarized as follows:
Aerodrome CategoryAeroplane Overall LengthMaximum Fuselage Width
10 m up to but not including 9 m2 m
29 m up to but not including 12 m2 m
312 m up to but not including 18 m3 m
418 m up to but not including 24 m4 m
524 m up to but not including 28 m4 m
628 m up to but not including 39 m5 m
739 m up to but not including 49 m5 m
849 m up to but not including 61 m7 m
961 m up to but not including 76 m7 m
1076 m up to but not including 90 m8 m
1.3  Temporary changes to the aerodrome category for rescue and firefighting will be published by NOTAM.

2.   Snow plan

2.1   Organization of winter service
2.1.1  The clearance of winter contaminants (frost, snow, ice, slush and associated water) from aerodrome surfaces and for the measurement and reporting of aerodrome surface conditions is the responsibility of the aerodrome authority, assisted as necessary by other agencies.
2.1.2  Prior to the onset of winter conditions, aerodrome authorities prepare a snow plan to effect efficient clearance and measurement procedures intended to ensure maximum availability of the aerodrome. The plan is formulated in cooperation with ATS and the aerodrome users. Arrangements are made to ensure that the plan can be implemented as soon as meteorological forecasts indicate the likelihood of surface contamination. The first priority is to clear operational runways and other essential parts of the movement area. Provision for measurement and reporting procedures are made. Subsequently, the surfaces cleared are maintained free of contaminant as far as is reasonably practicable.
2.1.3  Winter service is established at Tirana Aerodrome. The aerodrome snow plan is effective from 1st December to 31st March annually and details the preparation and procedures necessary to enable aircraft operations to continue during snow and ice conditions at the Airport.
2.2   Surveillance of manoeuvring areas
2.2.1  At public aerodromes, aerodrome authority will assess and report runway surface conditions.
2.2.2  Until a satisfactory method has been found to determine accurately and quickly the density of a contaminant on a runway, the nature of the surface covering is described using the following categories based on subjective assessment by the personnel making the inspection:

Ice - water in its solid state, it takes many forms including sheet ice, hoar frost and rime;

Dry snow - a condition where snow can be blown loose, or if compacted by hand, will fall apart again upon release;

Compacted snow - snow which has been compressed into a solid mass that resists further compression and will hold together or break up into chunks if picked up;

Wet snow - a composition which, if compacted by hand, will stick together and tend to, or does form a snowball;

Slush - a water saturated snow which, with a heel and toe slap down action with the foot against the ground, will be displaced with a splatter;

Associated standing water - standing water produced as a result of melting contaminant in which there are no visible traces of slush or ice crystals.

2.2.3  The Aerodrome Operational Service will monitor the condition of the manoeuvring area and the apron within the published aerodrome hours of service.
2.3   Measuring methods and measurements taken
2.3.1  A standard depth gauge is used to measure the depth of snow or slush on runways. Readings are taken at approximately 300 metre intervals between 5 and 10 metres on each side of the centre-line and clear of the effects of rutting. By international agreement depth information is given in millimetres representing the mean of readings obtained for each third of the total runway length.
2.3.2  The height and distance apart of snow banks is reported as soon as these are likely to affect safe manoeuvring by the most critical aircraft, in this context, normally using the aerodrome.
2.3.3  On runway affected by compacted snow or ice the braking action assessment is made by use of the Continuous Friction Measuring Equipment method.
2.3.4  This method employs a vehicle equipped with friction test device at 90 km/h. The equipment provides a continuous register of the mean of friction values on paper trace as well as on digital display. The principle employed is the measurement of the load and drag on a single wheel chain driven from the axle of a double wheel and made to slip at approximately 14.5% of the forward speed.
2.3.5  The method described above is limited to use on ice (gritted or un-gritted) and dry or compacted snow. They are likely to produce misleading high readings in slush or uncompacted, wet snow or water and it will not detect, for example, that the possibility of ‘slush planing’ exists.
2.3.6  Braking action tests, where appropriate, are made over the usable length of the runway at approximately 3 m each side of the centre-line and in such a manner as to produce mean values for each third of the length available.
2.3.7  Information on braking action will be given in terms of friction numbers (friction coefficients indicated with two digits, 0 and decimal symbol being omitted) when based on measurements. In addition, the kind of measuring device used will be reported. When braking action is estimated, plain language will be used.
2.3.8  The results of braking action testing on compacted snow or ice are interpreted by reference to the Snow and Ice Table below:
Measured Friction CoefficientEstimated Surface FrictionCode
0.40 and abovegood5
0.39 to 0.36medium to good4
0.35 to 0.30medium3
0.29 to 0.26medium to poor2
0.25 and belowpoor1
2.3.9  It is important to remember that the braking action assessment obtained from the Snow and Ice Table is only a rough indication of the relative slipperiness of a contaminated runway in conditions of compact snow and ice only. The description ‘Good’ is used in comparative sense - good for an icy surface - and is intended to indicate that aircraft generally, but not specifically, should not be subject to undue directional control or braking difficulties, but clearly a surface affected by ice and/or snow is not as good as a clean dry or even a wet runway.
2.3.10  The description ‘Good’ should not be used for braking action on untreated ice but may be used, where appropriate, when ice has been gritted. ‘Poor’ will almost invariably mean that conditions are extremely slippery and probably acceptable only, if at all, to aircraft needing little or no braking or steering. Where ‘Poor’ braking assessment exists, landings should only be attempted if the Landing Distance Available exceeds the Landing Distance Required on a ‘very slippery’ or icy runway as given in the aircraft Flight Manual. The intermediate values of ‘Medium to Good’ and ‘Medium to Poor’ have been included only to amplify the description when conditions are found to be Medium. The procedure is insufficiently refined to be able to discriminate accurately in the narrow numerical bands as set out in the table.
2.3.11  Aircraft operations on runways affected by slush can be particularly hazardous and every effort is made to clear the surface, as far as is reasonably practicable, of all slush contaminant prior to aircraft movement. However, the practical difficulties of ensuring that a runway is totally slush free are significant and success depends heavily on the prevailing meteorological conditions, the resources and time available. In such conditions, up to date runway condition reports are provided. However, because of the effects of drag, friction measuring machines can produce misleading readings when operated in slush. In addition, because of the infinitely variable characteristics of the contaminant, no satisfactory method of assessing braking action in slush exists.
2.3.12  For these reasons reports will not contain estimates of braking action derived from readings in these conditions and pilots will be informed on the RTF only of the extent and depth of the contamination.
2.4   Actions taken to maintain the usability of movement areas
2.4.1  The order in which the various parts of the movement area of an aerodrome are cleared will depend on many factors and is the subject of local consultation between the aerodrome authority and users. However, as a general policy, clearance is carried out in accordance with the standard order of priority given below:
  1. Runway in use, associated exits and entry points for the runway in use;
  2. Designated taxiway(s);
  3. Main aprons; and
  4. Airside roads.
2.4.2  The runway will be cleared first. Whenever possible, the full length and width of runway is to be cleared completely. Snow banks above 30 cm should not be accumulated at the runway edges. Runway/taxiway edge lights and PAPI are to be kept clear of snow.
2.4.3  Runway access and exit point clearance will be agreed between the Operations Duty Manager Airside (ODM) and ATC according to prevailing conditions, weather forecast and runway in use.
2.4.4  The full length and width of taxiways and associated links are to be cleared to allow landing aircraft to vacate the runway safely and expeditiously. No build-up of snow should be accumulated at taxiway intersections.
2.4.5  Clearance should commence from the heads of stand equipment areas where the stands are not occupied and to the rear of any parked aircraft which are positioned and the snow should be brushed towards the rear of the stands. This should then be removed.
2.4.6  If the snow clearance operation is conducted whilst the airport is closed due to snow, the runway, taxiways and aprons must be cleared to a standard acceptable to the ODM before the airport is re-opened.
2.4.7  Various clearance methods are employed and brief details of those available at Tirana Aerodrome are given in the aerodrome entry of the AIP at LATI AD-2.7.
2.4.8  Mechanical snow clearing equipment, blowers, sweepers, ploughs and rotary brushed form the main part of the contaminant clearance equipment used at aerodrome. As far as practicable, clearance techniques employed prevent the build-up of snow banks. Where this is unavoidable, every effort is made to restrict snow banks to such a height and distance apart as to ensure safe manoeuvring of the most critical aircraft, in this context, normally using the aerodrome.
2.4.9  Slush and associated standing water is cleared whilst it is forming. Clearance may have to be repeated at intervals and some interruption of operations may be inevitable.
2.4.10  Salt will not be used on any airside areas due to its corrosive properties. Liquid or other chemicals used for clearing ice are non-toxic and should have no detrimental effects on aircraft, aerodrome surfaces or the friction value of aerodrome pavements.
2.4.11  Measures to improve braking action will be implemented when the friction coefficient on runways and taxiways is below the maintenance planning level shown in ICAO Annex 14, Volume I, Attachment A, Section 7.
2.5   System and means of reporting
2.5.1  Information on runway conditions will be notified by NOTAM or by RTF. The ODM will use the NOTAM Promulgation Form for the reporting which will be delivered to the NOTAM Office for further dissemination.
2.5.2  When ice, snow or slush no longer prevails and chemicals are no longer used, the reporting will cease after the issuance of a cancellation NOTAM.
2.5.3  A new NOTAM shall be issued when there is a change in conditions, which are significant for operations.
2.5.4  Runway surface conditions are reported in the runway state group as an eight digit code at the end of the METAR every half hour for as long as conditions warrant. The runway state group contains information on the runway designator; type; extent and depth of deposit and where appropriate, braking action.
2.5.5  RTF reports to pilots provide an assessment in plain language of the available runway length, including a description of the prevailing conditions i.e. ice, snow or slush, and where appropriate braking action, together with the time of the measurement.
2.6   Cases of runway closure
2.6.1  In cases where a postponement of clearance operations would involve a definite risk of the situation developing into a crisis, e.g. when a fall in temperature causes water or slush to become solid ice, the snow clearance service is authorized to demand that sections of the movement areas be closed to traffic.
2.7   Availability of information about snow conditions
2.7.1  Information on the current state of progress of snow clearance and on the conditions of the movement areas is available from the aerodrome operator.
2.7.2  Information on current surface conditions is also available from the ATS Reporting Office at Tirana Aerodrome.