Christmas has definitely
not been cancelled.

A Unimog U 427 is equipped for winter road clearance at the world’s largest DHL hub.

A Unimog is responsible for ensuring that every child – big or small – gets their Christmas present in time. More specifically, a U 427 in Ginster Yellow. Let us begin at the beginning:

A logistical challenge.

Leipzig Airport is DHL’s European hub. So if Aunt Theresa from Madrid sends her nephew George a Christmas present with DHL Express to London, the package first lands in Leipzig. Like millions of other cargo items, it is transshipped here and transported to London by another DHL aircraft. This all happens at night when Theresa and George are asleep dreaming about Christmas.

Hero in the snow chaos.

To ensure that the various DHL cargo planes Airbus and Boeing) are in perfect working order, the European Air Transport Leipzig GmbH (EAT) team takes care of their maintenance and repair. The company is also an airline and operates over 30 of its own cargo aircraft.

Through town and country, and even up the mountains.

And this is where the Unimog comes into play. “The last two winters were very snowy at our airport in Schkeuditz,” says Olaf Andreas, Manager Ground Support. „There was suddenly so much snow that the airport operator‘s clearance vehicles were not able to clear the areas in front of our hangars. They were simply overloaded. Our doors were iced up and the machines suffered unnecessary downtimes as we could neither carry them out of the hall nor carry them in.“

Diverse by nature.

This gave rise to the idea of purchasing a high-performance vehicle that could also be used on a stand-alone basis, one that could reliably perform winter road clearance and tow heavy loads, such as its own 22-tonne fuel trailer. Ideally, this vehicle should also be available for internal logistics.

In the Summer, we pack our 3,000-litre Remix drum onto the flatbed of the Unimog.

Olaf Andreas, Manager Ground Support, DHL

One year later, the brand new U 427 featuring road tyres with 727 hp stood in front of the hall – with its mounting plate for a Gmeiner Keil Vario snow plough. There was also a sweeper from Dücker (FKM 240) with a working width of 2.40 m, designed for winter and summer use. Incidentally, gritters are strictly prohibited at the airport: The salt would corride the aluminium of the aircraft.


Busy all year round.

„In the summer, we pack our 3,000-litre Remix drum onto the flatbed of the Unimog. This also allows us to do the casting work,“ explains Olaf Andreas. A hydrostatic drive was donated to the Unimog to ensure working with attachments goes perfectly. And just as the employees in the ground support team look forward to their new Unimog, George can certainly look forward to receiving his Christmas present from Aunt Theresa from Spain on Christmas Eve. At the DHL hub in Leipzig, snow and ice are not going to keep any planes grounded that easily any more.

Project implemented in collaboration with Unimog general distributor:
Henne Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH

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