Wings Magazine

Montreal-Trudeau adds new de-icing facility

Oct. 30, 2014, Montreal - Aeroports de Montreal (ADM) and Aero Mag recently inaugurated a state-of-the-art ethylene glycol recovery, recertification and reuse facility at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport's de-icing centre that will significantly reduce the airport's environmental record while reducing de-icing charges for airlines.

October 30, 2014  By Carey Fredericks

Representing a $10 million investment, the facility uses a sophisticated process to concentrate ethylene glycol employed in aircraft de-icing operations and restore it to at least 99.5% purity for reuse. This process is considered a world first. ADM contributed $7.1 million to the construction of the facility while Aero Mag invested $2.9 million.

At the new ethylene glycol recycling facility, collected de-icing fluid is brought to a 50-50 concentration in a first phase, and then to a purity of 99.5% through the use of high-technology distillation tower supplied by Vilokan Sweden AB. Once it has been recertified for quality assurance, the glycol can then be used again for de-icing aircraft. All water generated by the process is filtered and reused.

“This facility makes us a world-leader in the recycling of ethylene glycol and is an important step in our efforts to promote sustainable development in all aspects of our operations,” said Philippe Rainville, Vice-President, Planning, Engineering and Construction, ADM. “It will enhance efficiencies at our de-icing operations while reducing the use of potable water by 2 million litres a year. It will also help to lower ethylene glycol costs by up to 30% for our airline customers during the winter months.”

De-icing airplanes is a vital procedure for airline safety in the winter and a critical component of Montreal-Trudeau’s operations. It involves spraying ethylene glycol diluted with water at a concentration based on current weather conditions – to remove frost, ice or snow from aircraft surfaces prior to takeoff. “Today, we can proudly say that by using the latest available technologies, we can recover virtually all of this fluid, purify it and reuse it, with tremendous environmental and operational benefits,” said Mario Lepine, President of Aero Mag.


Montreal-Trudeau airport opened its aircraft de-icing facility in 1997 in a joint venture with Aero Mag, now a Canadian leader in the conception, management and operation of de-icing facilities at airports in North America and the United Kingdom. Expanded in 2012, it features eight bays supported by 24 de-icing trucks capable of handling up to 48 aircraft an hour – or an average of about 9,400 aircraft a year.


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