4 Ways We Built A Top Deicing Team at NEA

#IceFree at Northeast Air

We find the right people

Deicing is a very important element to a safe flight. Aircraft wings are carefully designed with specific shapes and weights to help lift a heavy load off the ground while minimizing drag. Air flows relatively smoothly over and under the wings at different speeds, allowing the plane to maneuver through the air. When foreign debris attaches itself to the wings—for instance ice and snow—the air can’t move smoothly across the wing surface. That causes the wings to behave erratically, creating turbulence and severely poor handling for the pilots. And of course, the more ice there is on the wing, the more ice will accumulate. Ice builds on snow builds on ice. It’s a vicious cycle, one that could lead to disaster.

One of the key elements in ensuring that debris does not build up on the surfaces of the aircraft is the personnel who operates the deicing machinery. At Northeast Air, we invest heavily in time and energy to find the right people for the job. We don’t just call them the Deicing Team because it sounds nice; these people have to truly work as one to accomplish the delicate dance that happens during each deicing event.

We Hire Local

We start off by hiring local. The people who work for us are those who live in and love the Portland area. People of all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, and backgrounds work as part of the Deicing Team. Really, the only things we truly care about in a potential deicer is that they are dependable, accurate, and efficient. We treat our Deicing Team well, and each member enjoys his or her job, so much so that year after year, we have a 35%-45% return rate. For a part time, seasonal position, that’s saying something.

We Bring Back The Knowledge

The Northeast Air Deicing operation is built on the backs of the Team members who return year after year. Part time, seasonal workers come back for more, despite the sometimes random hours, freezing temperatures, and just plain hard work that is a Deicer’s life. For many, it’s a fun, rewarding job that makes you part of a team dedicated to safety and efficiency.

We’re also fortunate to have three team members who work for the company year round, cross-trained in other areas of the company so they can help out in the off-season. It is these seasoned veterans that we choose to invest in so they can pass their hard-earned knowledge to the next group of deicers.

We Keep Attrition Down

Year after year, we’ve managed to keep our attrition rate among our deicing personnel fairly low, which is difficult to do with a part time seasonal staff. Getting people to come back to a job like this is a challenge for any business. Yet, thanks to some great benefits and a real sense of value among our Team members, we’ve managed to keep a great team of deicers together.

We start off with a competitive wage because we appreciate the work that our deicing Team does during harsh conditions. We add in guaranteed hours, something that’s difficult to do with weather as fickle as you find in New England. We offer our Team members paid holidays and overtime pay to compensate them for the hard work. And one of the best benefits is paid training—approximately 15 to 20 hours before they take on their first deicing event.

All these benefits—plus our established deicing history and leading-edge technology—combine to form a strong, reliable team that keeps all the aircraft at Portland International Jetport safe and ice free during harsh Maine winters.

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