Out of the fog

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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Airlines add flights to clear backlog of passengers from more than 40 cancelled flights

An Air Canada passenger jet taxis to the terminal as two Westjet planes taxi towards the runway Monday at St. John’s International Airport. A backlog of passengers caused by the weekend's fog was finally cleared up Monday.—Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

With airlines still recovering from thick fog over the weekend that cancelled or delayed dozens of flights, the St. John’s airport is moving ahead with its plans to install a new landing system that will allow more flights to land in foggy conditions.

The St. John’s International Airport Authority late last month started running ads requesting statements of qualifications from electrical contractors for runway inset lighting for “strategic airfield accessibility improvements” at the airport. Marie Manning, the director of marketing and community relations for the airport authority, confirmed for The Telegram that it’s part of the $26-million instrument landing system, slated to be in place by the end of 2013.

A spokesman for Air Canada told The Telegram Monday that through the weekend about 30 flights were cancelled, but he didn’t provide the total number of passengers on those flights.

Several departures from St. John’s airport were cancelled Monday morning before visibility was good enough for planes to start leaving.

“By the end of the day we expect all affected travellers who want to travel will be able to, although some will have found alternative means of transport and others will have elected not to travel,” wrote Peter Fitzpatrick in an email to The Telegram Monday afternoon.

“To alleviate the backlog, we have added extra flights, including two large 767 aircraft yesterday and another extra 767 flight this evening.”

Likewise, WestJet spokeswoman Jennifer Sanford told The Telegram that it cancelled 11 flights in or out of St. John’s, and that it had drafted two more aircraft to the region today to help get the backlog cleared up. “Weather permitting in St. John’s, all guests will be reaccommodated by end of day,” she wrote.

Manning said the airport’s new instrument landing system will be a focus of the airport’s annual public meeting May 15, which will also touch on the new access road, due to be completed this year.

 

dmaceachern@thetelegram.com

 Twitter: TelegramDaniel

Organizations: The Telegram, International Airport Authority, Air Canada

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Recent comments

  • sealcove
    May 12, 2012 - 09:57

    Driving from gander to st,john,s would scare the hell out anyone the way people drive here

  • Abu SImbal
    May 09, 2012 - 06:26

    The absence of this system illustrates the backwater status of St John's. We are lagging most other major cities in services of, apparently, all types. Of particular note is the fact that the city is blanketed in fog for most of the year. This simple reality indicates the need for a "fog landing system" and I am at a loss to understand why it has taken so long for such a system to be installeed.

  • Lost on a Walk About
    May 08, 2012 - 18:59

    Response to Jezz- Yes flights can go out of Gander but the Political Will on the part of the St John's Airport Authority/ and or those responsible, is just not there to make it happen. On a clear day, every flight landing in St John's has to have an alternate landing Airport just in case of weather conditions. So guess what- never is it Gander, most likely Halifax or Goose Bay. Give me a break. Anything and everything to keep Gander down with little or no regard for the travelling public that could probably deal with the situation if in Gander but not in Goose Bay or Halifax As for the wait time for buses in Gander as mentioned by Geraldine, well not knowing for sure, that is probably because the buses were coming from St John's in the first place. God forgive using a Gander Bus and keeping the customer happy. We shouldn't complain about Air Canada, cause after all they do have the first flight in the morning into Bangeldish. Lovely, just lovely !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • geraldine flannigan
    May 08, 2012 - 09:49

    My husband and I were two of those passengers on Air Canada flight - that flew to Newfoundland 2 times before we got home. The last flight went to Gander and 274 passengers were stranded there for hours until a bus arrived. We were under the impression that buses and Air Canada agents would be helping us when we arrived. But this was not the case In my opinion Air Canada has little or no regard for passengers.

  • Jezz
    May 08, 2012 - 08:37

    Can't flights just go out of Gander?

  • Paul
    May 08, 2012 - 07:41

    This system is long over due ! I here it will cut down on fog related delays by 70%.