De-icing units at airports often provide such a poor service that the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) director Mike Ambrose wants to see the companies permitted to do it licensed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Ambrose says ERA airlines have an obligation to ensure their aircraft depart with uncontaminated wings, and they are required to audit de-icing companies to check their effectiveness before use. Having done this, however, Ambrose says his member airlines report seeing de-icing sprays that are not working properly in use, wings contaminated with ice after de-icing, and report that the high turnover of staff with the de-icing companies leaves the carriers concerned about whether their staff are fully trained. Ambrose says airport de-icing services are often so bad that ERA member airlines are setting up their own pre-flight de-icing arrangements.

The ERA's call for de-icing companies to be licensed runs on the logic that engineering companies have to be licensed under JAR 145, and icing is as safety-critical as having a component replaced during turnaround.

Source: Flight International