New De-icing Pads Will Keep Packages Moving at Key Cargo Airport This Holiday Season

Dec 7, 2022 | Partner News

FAA strengthens supply chain by providing $174M to $330M project that can de-ice 12 wide-body aircraft simultaneously

Ice and snow will be no match for packages this winter at a key air cargo airport and sorting center. Federal, state, local, and business leaders today marked the completion of 3.3 million-square-foot de-icing pads at Memphis International Airport, home to FedEx’s largest air cargo sorting facility. The pads are large enough to de-ice 12 wide-body cargo aircraft simultaneously, which will help get goods where they need to go quicker and more efficiently this holiday season. The FAA invested $174 million to help make this project a reality.

“This holiday season and every season, it’s critical that American families and businesses get the goods they need when they need them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Memphis International Airport is the biggest cargo airport in the country, and this innovative aircraft de-icing facility is one of the many ways we’re modernizing America’s supply chains.”

With these innovative de-icing pads at Memphis International Airport, message boards eliminate the need for audio communication with pilots, taxiway lead-in lights eliminate the need for follow-me vehicles or marshallers, and infrared cameras help position airplanes in the de-icing bays.

These pads offer more environmentally friendly de-icing procedures with wider safety margins. De-icing planes at a central pad instead of the gate allows an aircraft to depart sooner, reducing the need to de-ice an aircraft again. The new pads have a segregated drainage system and large-volume containers to collect de-icing fluid. The fluid’s release is metered into the sanitary sewer system, where it breaks down and helps sanitize city wastewater.

“Innovative projects like this are key to improving safety, increasing efficiency, and advancing sustainability across the country,” said Deputy FAA Administrator A. Bradley Mims.

“We want to thank the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, and Memphis International Airport for their support of this new Consolidated De-icing Facility – an example of how to deploy technology to improve operational efficiency,” said Richard W. Smith, president and CEO, FedEx Express. “The timing could not be better as FedEx enters the busy holiday season. This facility is a shining example of how we can help ensure our team members are safely operating throughout the winter season as we deliver outstanding service for our customers.”

Airport leaders, local officials, members of the Congressional delegation, and FedEx joined Secretary Buttigieg and Deputy Administrator Mims at today’s event.

Read more about how the FAA helps airports prepare for winter weather.

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