Winter weather, computer problems put Kelowna airport into catch-up mode | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Kelowna News

Winter weather, computer problems put Kelowna airport into catch-up mode

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After four days of “irregular operations,” Kelowna International Airport is still in catch-up mode today, Nov. 8.

“With the good weather we’re seeing, by tomorrow we feel all of the passengers will have gotten to their destinations and we’ll be back to normal operations,” Phillip Elchitz, senior manager of airport operations, told iNFOnews.ca.

Problems started with Friday’s snowstorm where visibility forced the cancellation of more than 10 flights.

On the weekend, the WestJet computer system was down, causing 200 cancellations of WestJet, Sunwing and Swoop flights nationwide, including some in Kelowna.

READ MORE: Stranded passengers call for more accountability for WestJet flight cancellations

Then there was yesterday’s snowstorm.

“The airport wasn’t closed,” Elchitz said. “All the equipment was fully operational and we had enough staff here to keep the runway clear of snow and ice so, when the weather did improve, the aircraft were able to land quickly.”

Eight flights were cancelled, 10 delayed and two, from Toronto and Edmonton, diverted to Vancouver.

“The airport was very busy,” Elchitz said. “We had a fair amount of congestion, not just in the terminal building, but on the front curb as well. Our parking lots were near capacity and it made for a difficult couple of days.”

Extra flights have been put on by the airlines today to deal with the backlog. Only one WestJet flight, from Victoria, has been cancelled today. Elchitz didn’t know why.

It’s not unusual to have three or four days each winter where visibility and high winds force flights to be cancelled, he said, adding what is unusual is to have four days in a row of disruptions.


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