Airport Cleaning Equipment: An Emerging Niche Market Segment with Huge Growth Potential

The Indian aviation industry is passing through its most exciting phase. The arrival of low-cost airlines has made India one of the most keenly watched aviation markets in the world. The twists and turns of the economy notwithstanding, there is no doubting the potential of the Indian market. Experts in the field believe that the country would need over 1,000 aircrafts in the next decade with passenger traffic expected to grow six times. The passenger traffic is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 15 percent in the next five years. The Vision 2020 statement of the Civil Aviation Ministry envisages creating infrastructure for handling 280 million passengers by 2020. This translates into an investment opportunity of US $110 billion in airport infrastructure during the period. The sector, with a growth of 18 percent in the domestic market, is expected to be the 3rd largest aviation market by 2020. It does not come as a surprise then that despite many airlines reporting losses, there are an equal number of, if not more, airlines wanting to establish their presence in India. The situation has led to a boom in the number of Greenfield airport projects in the recent two decades. There have also been numerous airports up gradation programs taken up across various Indian cities.

With the increase in the number of airports, their maintenance has emerged as a key issue for the authorities concerned. However, the arrival of specialized equipment for airport cleaning and maintenance has come to their rescue. Today an entire gamut of specialized machinery is available specifically meant for airport cleaning and maintenance. Right from runway sweepers to machines for removal of rubber from runways to specialized equipment for cleaning passenger terminals, a revolution is sweeping across the aviation industry. With India emerging as one of the key global aviation market and with the exponential increase in the number of airports, it is not surprising that it is gradually emerging as a key market for airport cleaning equipment. Let us take a look at the key airport cleaning equipment here.

One of the major airport maintenance works involves taking care of the rubber buildup on runways. While chemical methods using application of proprietary cleaners that are brushed into the surface and then washed off using low pressure water is available, these days the work is being done by specialized equipment.

The buildup of rubber affects the level of friction of the runway, most noticeably as a reduction in braking and ground handling performance. This could lead to lateral slide off the runway or runway overruns. These days specialized equipment capable of hydro cleaning, where a set of water jets to the surface enables them to break the hardened rubber free from the runway surface. The runway rubber mark removal machines can remove rubber from both grooved, as well as smooth runways. They are designed in such a manner such that they don’t affect the integrity of the surface. Rubber removal machines also double up and helps in removal of painted lines from the runway too. These machines can remove painted lines, leaving the surface clean and dry, ready for repainting.

High speed runway sweeping equipment is a common sight across airports these days. These mean machines are used to keep the runway free of debris. They are designed to sweep large, flat surfaces in quick time. These truck mounted models usually come with a front or rear mounted magnet, that helps in removing foreign object debris such as nuts and bolts or other small metal objects  that can be found on runways. These machines are also fitted with high pressure water systems for runway cleaning. They also typically feature an air blast system that helps to blow away dust from the runway.

These days there are also specialized sweepers available for glycol recovery too. Glycol is the deicing fluid that is used to deice planes. These days there are strict regulations governing picking up of glycol. Specialized sweepers pump off the fluid from the runway and later on let it flow into the storm water runoff system at airports.

3Terminal and Hangar Cleaning Equipment

The sizes of airport terminals have been increasing in recent times. In India we have the examples of the swanky T3 terminal in New Delhi and the recently opened T2 terminal in Mumbai. Maintaining these huge terminals in top shape is no child’s play, especially if one takes into consideration the number of people who use them every day. Helping them keep clean is specialized cleaning equipment. This equipment is also used for the upkeep of airport hangars too.
One can find several leading manufacturers offering ride-on or walk behind machines for the purpose. Roots Multi-clean, for example offers a wide range of high performance sweeping ma-chines for various outdoor and indoor sweeping works. Roots Multiclean represents top global brands in the field including Hako Jonas and Powerboss in India. The ride-on models offered under the Hako Jonas range by Roots Multiclean in India include -800E, 900, 980V/E, and 1200V/E, while under the Powerboss brand the company supplies the  Armadillo SW-6XV, SW/9XR and SW/10XV models. Heavy duty vacuum cleaners are also used in the cleaning up of airport terminals and hangars. A good example is available in the range of industrial vacuum cleaners from Eureka Forbes, considered a market leader in the field in India for a long time now.

2Snow Removal Equipment

A variety of snow removal equipment too has made their entry into the market in recent times. This equipment could prove to be vital in airports located in the Himalayan region of the country. Front mount plows are often used to clear snow from airport runways. Whenever the snowfall is heavy, snow blowers too are brought into use. A variety of loader mounted snow blower models are available nowadays. With several key strategically important airports located in areas which receive heavy snowfall in India, it is only a matter of time before several leading manufacturers of snow removal equipment enter the fray in India.

1Bright Future

With India emerging as a key global aviation hub, the buzz around airport cleaning equipment is increasing by the day. Leading global manufacturers are making a beeline for this niche market segment. With the surge in air traffic only expected to increase in the next few years, what with the entry of some new low cost airlines, the continued growth in the number air freight carrying aircrafts, and the rise in the number of airports, airport cleaning equipment manufacturers can look forward to a smooth ride in the near future.


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