3 December 2014 | LunaJets Expertise

Private jet de-icing this winter

All you need to know about de icing before you charter your private jet this winter

Your guide to de-icing

The term ‘de-icing’ refers to the removal of snow and ice that can build up on an aircraft in cold conditions. At LunaJets, we understand that the subsequent delay and cost caused by this process are frustrating. However, above all, passenger security is the priority and de-icing is crucial to ensuring a safe flight. This guide will explain why de-icing is essential, the different options available and how much it costs, as well as providing a few tips to reduce or avoid de-icing fees.

Why is de-icing so important?

The wings and rear tail components of an aircraft are designed and engineered with an extremely specific shape in order to optimize lift, performance and control. When snow and ice build up on parts of the airframe, they greatly alter the way in which air flows past it, disturbing its aerodynamics. The lift performance can consequently be diminished, reducing the stability and control of the aircraft in flight. Therefore, for the safety of those on board, de-icing is absolutely mandatory so that all snow and ice is removed before take off.

How it works?

To strip a private jet of any ice or snow that may have built up on it, a specifically designed vehicle called a de-icing rig is used to spray special liquid onto the airframe. There are two kinds of liquids that can be used, de-icing fluid and anti-icing fluid, and they have slightly different effects.

De-icing fluid is a mixture of propylene glycol and water that is heated and sprayed under pressure to remove all ice and snow from the aircraft. The liquid is usually orange, to show where it has been applied. However, de-icing fluid has only a limited ability to prevent ice and snow from reforming. Therefore, if the forecast prior to take off indicates that ice or snow could reform, then anti-icing fluid should be applied instead, since not only does it remove ice and snow but it also remains on the airframe for considerably longer to prevent them from building up again.

How much does it cost?

The de-icing of a private jet can be expensive and the cost depends on a number of contributing factors. Firstly, the amount of fluid required will affect the price and this will vary in accordance with the size of the aircraft and the amount of snow and ice that has built up. Secondly, the cost of de-icing fluid changes from one airport to the next so where you are taking off from may cause the price to fluctuate. Thirdly, whether the weather conditions dictate that you require de-icing or anti-icing fluid will change the cost of de-icing the aircraft. These different factors can increase the price of de-icing from hundreds to thousands of euros.

The charterer is liable for de-icing fees, which are charged after the flight has taken place. LunaJets only invoices the exact cost of de-icing after the flight and can provide the handling invoice if needed. Be aware that some aircraft operators offer special insurances for ‘very light jets’ and “light lets” mainly. For more information, please contact one of our sales representatives.

Tips to reduce de-icing time and fees or even avoid de-icing

LunaJets unbeatable prices, location in Geneva and expertise in Alpine airports makes us the best choice for ski flights. Therefore, we know the best ways of reducing the price of, or even completely avoiding, de-icing, as it has often been required to ensure the safety of our clients on their ski holidays.

Our team always reviews every detail of your flight plan the night before you are due to fly. This includes checking the weather conditions for the following day, so you will always be aware if de-icing is a possibility. This can save you time and money.

In unfavourable conditions, it might be prudent to rent a hangar for the night before take off to completely avoid the need to de-ice the aircraft the following day. The economic viability of this clearly depends on hangar rental costs which vary from airport to airport, as well as hangar availability.

Alternatively, if possible, using a heated hangar just before your flight can help reduce de-icing costs or even avoid it.

If de-icing is inevitable, LunaJets will always inform the operator of your exact arrival time at the terminal. Keeping the operator informed will ensure that the de-icing procedure starts on time, thus reducing the length of delay. This also will avoid the risk of the need for de-icing fluid to be applied twice, which would double the fee.

Providing a safe flight and superior service to our clients is of the utmost importance for LunaJets. Each flight is different and requires special attention and a LunaJets adviser will be assigned to your individual flight from beginning to end to guarantee that your trip goes as smoothly as possible.

To book your flight or for more information regarding winter flights, de-icing or your upcoming trip, please de not hesitate to call the LunaJets team on +41 844 041 844 or email us at lunajets@lunajets.com.

Picture credit Matthias Geiger