Winter weather delays local air travel

Cold weather & air travel delays

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - This winter storm has not only impacted travel on the highways, but local airports are also seeing the effects.

The winter storm moving across parts of the country is leaving some stranded and unable to get to their destination.

According to Lake Charles Regional Airport Director Heath Allen, the weather has led to multiple delays and cancellations for many of those who had flights scheduled for this week.

However, they’re hoping operations will resume at the airport soon.

”Things have to thaw out before you can do anything. Most airports in the deep south are just not set up to deal with ice,” Allen said. “Thousands of flights have been canceled across the south. Of course, our two major hubs that we fly to - Houston and Dallas were also impacted by this winter weather.”

Allen says things may have been different if they had the equipment to deal with problems related to frigid temperatures and wind chills.

”One of the major concerns that we have right now at the airport is the lack of water pressure. Obviously, if you’re going to host passengers, you have to have functioning restrooms and water for aircraft. So, that’s something we’ll be watching very closely.”

The last time the airport had to close runways was during an ice storm in 1997.

“I know it’s extremely frustrating - especially if you’re stuck somewhere and can’t get back home. So, certainly, we feel for those travelers that can’t get to where they want to go, but know it’s all in the name of safety. And hopefully, we’ll get things back going soon.”

As for now, he said the airport may be able to resume some travel late Thursday afternoon.

“The information that both airlines are giving us right now is that they are planning to try and resume operations at LCH. I think it’s like a noon-time flight. I think that would be the earliest flight.”

The airport recommends that all travelers check their airline for flight status updates as this weather is affecting a lot of airports in our region.

By 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, more than 2,600 flights in, out and across the United States had been canceled, according to FlightAware, which tracks worldwide flight traffic data in real-time. Meanwhile, more than 770 flights have been delayed, according to the data.

The Federal Aviation Administration also issued a notice for the entire mid-Atlantic region. The agency said winter storms may bring ice to the area through Friday, and passengers should check their flight status. If their flight isn’t canceled, they should be wary of slippery roads.

FAA Travel Notice
FAA Travel Notice (Source: KPLC)

Amtrak is also modifying its schedule Thursday and Friday due to the “severe weather expected to impact parts of the mid-Atlantic region.”

Amtrak issues travel notice
Amtrak issues travel notice (Source: KPLC)

While some trains will run on a modified schedule, others will be completely canceled out of the safety of employees and customers, the company said.

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