Airport doing its best to weather snow, winds

WILLIAMSTOWN – Along with schools and events in the Mid-Ohio Valley on Friday, travel saw problems from the snowy, cold and windy weather.

“Although there are some problems, we are doing pretty good,” said Terry Moore, manager of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport.

While general aviation pilots and flights kept the workers in the airport’s tower busy all day, the commercial service between the local airport and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport saw at least one cancellation and a delay.

“Many of the weather issues with flights are because of the weather at the designation,” said Moore. “In my experience, fight delays and cancellations are one-third because of weather in Cleveland, one-third because of the weather here and one-third mechanical issues because of the cold temperatures.”

Cleveland had eight flights canceled on Friday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware (www.flightaware.com). Five of these flights were departures while the other three were arrivals.

One of the airport’s morning departures to Cleveland was late because of a mechanical problem with the plane that was caused by the cold. The original 1:30 p.m. flight did not leave the local facility until nearly 5:30 p.m., according to the Cleveland airport’s website (www.clevelandairport.com).

The regularly scheduled 5:30 p.m. flight was canceled. No flights from Cleveland to Parkersburg were canceled and all arrived on time, according to the schedule.

“Most of the flight issues (Friday) likely came from Cleveland because we have not had any trouble locally,” Moore said.

The situation for today’s commercial service is unknown as officials for both airports and carrier Silver Airways, which operates between the two airports as United Express, must assess the situation. The Mid-Ohio Valley is expecting two or more inches of snow in the next 24 hours with winds between 10 and 15 mph.

Cleveland may see the same snowfall with winds up to 30 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

“I’m not looking forward to more snow because it is the weekend and I will have to call in maintenance guys and pay overtime,” Moore said.

Typically, when it snows the employees gain overtime by being called into work as early as 2 a.m. to begin cleaning the snow off the runway and putting sand down for traction. Salt cannot be used on runways because it is corrosive to the planes.

Annually, the airport sets aside about 10 percent of its budget, about $35,000, for overtime – holiday pay and weather-related hours – to cover the cost of the employees time.