Meadow in front of Terminal 1
Meadow in front of Terminal 1


areas and aircraft

Even in wintry weather conditions, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH and its service providers ensure that aircraft can take off and land safely. 


In the winter, aircraft have to be cleared of snow, ice and frost before take-off as otherwise the aircraft’s ability to generate lift is degraded which has a significant negative impact on its aerodynamic characteristics. The pilot is responsible for deciding whether the aircraft is to be de-iced or not.


Uniform standards apply worldwide for de-icing procedures: First, the surfaces of the aircraft are cleared of snow and ice. In the next step, the aircraft are protected from re-icing with special de-icing agents for a certain period of time.

Propylene glycols are used as de-icing agents and are assessed as slightly hazardous to water. Excess de-icing agent drips off and mixes with the rainwater run-off. This de-icing agent–water mixture is biodegradable and is cleaned via soil filters. Only if the discharge limits set by the authority are complied with is the water discharged into the adjacent ditch. Otherwise, the mixture is discharged into the sewage treatment plant.

Winter service at BER

The condition of the runways and taxiways are permanently monitored with the aid of an ice early warning system and controlled by special test and measurement vehicles.

In case of snowfall, mechanical clearing is generally preferred to chemical treatment of the surfaces. If de-icing agents are necessary, they are used as sparingly as possible and only after mechanical clearing. If temperatures below freezing point are expected, surfaces can also be treated with de-icing agents as a preventive measure.

The means used to de-ice surfaces are selected according to operational requirements and ecological compatibility. The sodium and potassium formates currently used are classified as slightly hazardous to water and are readily biodegradable. De-icing salt is not used on the flight operation areas. The use of de-icing agents is documented in detail.