Friday April 18, 2014





Weather causes Kamloops airport delays

'We were just thrilled they de-iced, cleared the runway and she got to Calgary. I had my doubts'
Keith Anderson

Kamloops airport workers use de-icer on the wings of an Air Canada Express passenger plane Monday morning after snow delayed flights for hours until runways could be cleared and the snow stopped.

Despite preparations for a dump of snow early Monday morning, there were several delayed and cancelled flights at Kamloops Airport.

The runway was not at issue, said operations manager Ed Ratuski.

"We had our crews on it at 5 a.m.," Ratuski said. "The runways were OK."

One WestJet flight to Calgary was delayed by three hours, but that was to allow for a crew rest, he explained. When successive delays add up, air crews have to rest for a certain number of hours before they're allowed to fly again.

Kathy Kals' daughter was headed back to university in Waterloo, Ont., but they knew the night before there would be a delay. Kal had only praise for efforts at the airport.

"We were just thrilled they de-iced, cleared the runway and she got to Calgary," Kals said. "I had my doubts."

One Air Canada Express flight was delayed and another out of Vancouver was cancelled due to the low cloud ceiling, Ratuski said.

Weather played havoc with flights elsewhere as well.

WestJet Flight 150 out of Kelowna, destined for Edmonton, was carrying 134 passengers and six crew members as it pulled away from the terminal shortly before 8 a.m. on Monday, said airline spokesman Robert Palmer.

The plane was moving at about 15 kilometres per hour when at least some of its wheels left the tarmac. There were no injuries.

A storm was blanketing the area with heavy snow at the time, causing poor visibility, but Palmer said the exact cause was still under investigation.

"It appears to be weather related at this time — they're having quite the snowstorm there and it's difficult to see where the tarmac stops and the grass starts because it's under a whole bunch of snow," Palmer said.

All the passengers were OK and were being rebooked on other flights, Palmer said.

However, the snowstorm had cancelled other flights into and out of Kelowna and it wasn't clear when all of the passengers would make it to Edmonton. WestJet planned to pay for their meals, accommodation and travel until they were able to depart, Palmer said.

He said crews were inspecting the plane for damage before determining if it could return to service but that the slow speed meant it's unlikely the aircraft sustained any serious damage.





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