What It Takes to Keep the Airport Clean
When traveling through an airport, there are many things that you may notice such as where there is to eat or what there is to do. However, what you might not think about is what exactly it takes to keep it clean. At America’s Friendliest Airport®, we pride ourselves not only on customer service, but on our facilities. We have a tremendous staff that works hard to keep our facilities clean and operational.
In fact, there are approximately 200 staff members who do all kinds of jobs from cleaning the restrooms (all 86 of them) to washing windows to vacuuming, and handling even special events.
“Our staff does a lot,” said Aviation Supervisor III Joel Walters. “They also handle meeting room set-ups, table and chair requests, and the flags.”
Cleaning Phoenix Sky Harbor is no small task. In fact, did you know that Sky Harbor’s three terminals cover five million square feet? When travelers disembark from the plane, Sky Harbor is the first impression they see of Phoenix.
Take the restrooms for example. They are cleaned throughout the day. Depending on the traffic in the various restrooms, they are given one to two thorough cleanings during the first and second shift. This includes wiping off the fixtures, mopping the floors and cleaning the mirrors, Walters said. Then, every 30 to 45 minutes, staff re-enters the restrooms to check the floors, dispensers, and trash. During the night, a deep cleaning is performed which includes scrubbing the fixtures, walls, and floors. Over the course of the entire day, staff also responds to any calls they receive about areas needing to be cleaned up, restrooms in need of more supplies, etc.
Here are some fun facts too. Each year in the terminals, approximately 32,665 miles of toilet tissue and 14,598 miles of paper towels are used. Now think about this, the circumference of Earth is 24,900 miles. Phoenix Sky Harbor is truly a busy operation! And, each year approximately 6,352 gallons of hand soap are used. That would actually fill an average car with gasoline about 400 times.
And, of course, a lot of trash is collected. In fact, approximately 800 tons of trash is picked up on a monthly basis. Thus, employees are working hard to make sure that areas are clean and garbage-free.
In addition to cleaning inside the terminals, Phoenix Sky Harbor employees also work to make sure the runways are maintained. Rubber removal is a significant maintenance function that has to be done about every one to two months. Why is this so important? As planes land, they leave a lot of rubber behind. These deposits detract from the amount of friction needed on the runway for incoming aircraft. Therefore, employees use a high pressure water blaster that recovers water as it moves along to remove the rubber. This work is done at night. There are also employees who sweep the runways, taxiways, roadways and other outdoor facilities to keep the Airport maintained and cleaned. In addition, there is other preventative maintenance done mainly at night, such as painting the runways.
So next time you are passing through Phoenix Sky Harbor, look around at all the hard-work employees perform to keep the Airport clean.
First posted: 1/26/2011