May 22, 2015


Local

'Trickle-down effect' from storm at city airport

The spreading impact throughout the air-travel system from Toronto's dramatic ice storm cancelled a handful of Winnipeg flights and delayed many others Sunday, and airport officials aren't sure whether things will be back to normal today.

Most flights from Winnipeg's Richardson International Airport, especially those Sunday afternoon, took off despite the major disruption during what is the busiest travel weekend of the year. But planes to and from eastern markets such as Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal saw delays of an hour or two.

"We're noticing that (the ice storm) is affecting flights across the board," said airport spokeswomen Felicia Wiltshire. "But it's not too bad. Sometimes, when a major hub like Toronto is experiencing issues, it has a trickle-down effect across the country."

That even affected flights to and from western Canadian cities such as Calgary and Saskatoon, even though those cities saw mainly clear skies.

At least one Air Canada flight to Toronto was cancelled Sunday morning, forcing dozens of passengers to scramble onto later flights. Many were able to quickly re-book, but some had travelled to the airport from rural Manitoba and were worried their Christmas holidays would be shortened due to travel delays.

Late Sunday, many flights out of Toronto's Pearson International Airport were still delayed or cancelled, thanks to the ice storm that paralysed the region, causing widespread power outages and treacherous highway conditions.

Wiltshire said it's possible minor travel disruptions will continue today and she advised travellers to arrive early, check online for updated arrival and departure times and be patient.

"Our advice is just check our site or the specific airline before you come down. That information is being updated all the time," she said.

Most carriers are handling the situation quite well, Wiltshire added.

-- Adam Wazny, Mary Agnes Welch and Roberta Bell

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 23, 2013 A3

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