Operations Manager, YMX

Aeromag’s Changemakers October 25, 2023
I took on the position of Operations Manager at Montreal-Mirabel International Airport (YMX) in 2018, prior to which I was working at the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) station. Since then, the cargo aircraft passing through are slowly changing to more modern aircraft. Indeed, YMX can see a range of aircraft from some of the smallest private passenger models to the world’s largest cargo model. The YMX airport is also the site from which Airbus A220s are finalized and delivered to customers.

YMX is a smaller station within the Aeromag network, averaging approximately 550 deicing operations per season. Here, cargo aircraft are treated with the same level of care and professionalism as passenger aircraft. However, the amount of time a cargo flight may remain on the ground before departing again poses a unique challenge. Unlike a passenger flight which disembark passengers and embarks others to depart, a cargo flight may remain parked for an extended amount of time. As days with precipitation go by, a larger amount of snow and or ice has to be removed which can result in more de-icing fluid applied.

At the airport, we are solely responsible for coordinating deicing operations and fluid recovery. In large quantities, glycol can be harmful to wildlife. As it decomposes, glycol will use and reduce the amount of available oxygen. This reduction in oxygen can have negative effects on the surrounding environment. For these reasons ensuring recovery of spent fluid is important.

There are two options to recover glycol: the active way or the passive way. The active recovery method involves a glycol recovery vehicle. Of course, this option requires a certain amount of fuel, but it allows us to eliminate any residual glycol from the deicing pad to prevent groundwater infiltration. Speaking of vehicles, the station has acquired an electric-powered deicing truck. Having another single operated vehicle that requires much less fuel has been a definite plus in our day-to-day operations.

Passive methods to recover glycol are in no way dull. These processes are actually pretty innovative! One of these passive methods involves underground piping that recovers spent fluid from the deicing apron surface. This fluid is stored in reservoirs until disposal. Another passive method is stocking the contaminated snow. Our vast contaminated snow dump allows for a greater quantity of contaminated snow to be stocked. The glycol will eventually work its way to the bottom of the snow pile and flow into the underground system before being pumped in our recovery tanks. The remaining snow, much less contaminated now, can be disposed of more easily. In the end, these passive methods help us reduce our carbon footprint by using less fuel than the active method.

Aeromag is always working on innovative solutions to make its operations better for the planet. As a company, we care for the environment during the deicing season and the off season as well. At YMX, we are continuously testing water samples to ensure that we respect environmental regulations. We have our own GC-FID (gas chromatography machine) onsite for immediate test results. We also send samples to an accredited laboratory to ensure our results are correct.

Having a glycol blending system allows us to treat aircraft with the lowest glycol concentration possible while respecting the required temperature buffers. Doing so means less glycol is used thus reducing the amount that needs to be recovered and eventually disposed of.