A pair of new Mercedes-Benz runway sprayer trucks played a key role in helping Manchester Airport chiefs to beat the big chill when wintry weather gripped the UK in February and March.

The 26-tonne Arocs were supplied by Dealer Rygor Commercials to specialist bodybuilder Aebi Schmidt UK, of Peterborough, which fitted them with its Airport Sprayer (ASP) 30m extendable side and rear spray booms, pumping equipment and modular polyethylene fluid tanks before delivering them to the airport.

They have been undertaking the crucial task of spraying de-icing media on the runways so that aircraft can continue to take-off and land, even when temperatures dip below zero.

Both are 6x4 Arocs 2632 models with ClassicSpace cabs. Their 7.7-litre straight-six engines generate 235 kW (320 hp) and drive through smooth, efficient Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions.

Senior airport engineer Jay Harding said: 'These new trucks have already played a vital part in keeping our runways open through some challenging conditions and have greatly impressed the teams who work with them.

'The cabs are comfortable and well-designed, while the controls for the spraying and pumping equipment integrate seamlessly with the vehicles' own electronics'

With its side booms fully extended, each Arocs can spray de-icing solution across a 30-metre span, while travelling at speeds of up to 28mph (45kmph). The truck carries 12,500 litres of fluid and the exact dosage and spraying width can be controlled by the operative in the cab.

The Manchester Airport engineering team have named their two Arocs ' one is called Sir Bruce Thaws Ice in honour of entertainment giant Sir Bruce Forsyth, who died last year; the other has been dubbed Clouey in memory of long-standing airport worker Steve Clousen, who also passed away in 2017.

Situated nine miles south-west of the city centre, Manchester Airport is the third busiest in the United Kingdom. Its three passenger terminals handled a record 25.6 million customers in 2016, and have capacity for up to 50 million annually.

And it is the only airport in the UK other than London Heathrow to operate two runways over 2,999 metres in length. Flights from Manchester Airport land at 199 locations, placing it 13th globally for total destinations served.