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.