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Cold weather shuts down some United flights at airport

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United Airlines flights, operating as United Express under a mainline partnership between United Airlines and ExpressJet, have been cancelled at the airport.

ERIC RISBERG / ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE Enlarge Image

United Airlines flights, operating as United Express under a mainline partnership between United Airlines and ExpressJet, have been cancelled at the airport.

As Winnipeg experiences one of its coldest winters in a long while, an American airline is having trouble keeping up in the cold.

Today only one flight was cancelled, but nine United Airlines flights, operating as United Express under a mainline partnership between United Airlines and ExpressJet, flying both in and out of Winnipeg were cancelled on Monday. Three flights scheduled to leave Winnipeg Tuesday were also cancelled.

Jarek Beem, a spokesperson for ExpressJet said that the weather in Winnipeg contributed to the cancellations.

"It’s a combination of these ice crystals that form in the air and the temperature," he said. "That puts the conditions outside of the operating guidelines of the aircraft."

"It really just depends on the weather," said Beem, adding that flights are cancelled or delayed on a case-by-case system.

Beem also said that some of these flights were not cancelled because of Winnipeg’s weather, but because of a storm in their departure city.

Felicia Wiltshire, manager of communications for the Winnipeg Airport Authority, said there’s no way to know which flights will be cancelled in the coming days, if any.

"All of the decisions are made by the airlines," she said. "It varies with their protocols, their safety standards. It varies from plane to plane."

Wiltshire said she doesn’t expect an unusual number of cancellations in the coming days, but the weather forecast is far from comforting.

For the last few days, Winnipeg has been colder than it usually is as the new year begins. With snowfall expected on Friday and temperatures sinking to below -30 C for the weekend, more flights might not make it off the ground.

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