Contour Airlines CEO blames ice, runway conditions for Ogdensburg flight cancellations
OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - Contour Airlines has a response to our story regarding canceled flights at Ogdensburg International Airport.
In our report Tuesday, we cited FlightAware.com, a flight tracking software, as saying a total of 34 flights were canceled in the last 2 weeks either leaving Ogdensburg to go to Philadelphia or the return flight back.
Matt Chaifetz, the CEO of Contour, told 7 News on Wednesday that weather was a challenge in January, saying icy conditions posed problems.
He explained that if the runway is icy, there may not be enough runway to bring the aircraft to a safe stop and the flight will be canceled.
Another issue is the equipment to deice the jets. He said two of Contour’s deicers have had mechanical problems and it just sent a third to the area.
But if the deicers aren’t working, or if it would require too much of the deicing fluid, Contour cancels flights out of Philadelphia to Ogdensburg because the company doesn’t want its jets to get grounded in the north country - essentially the plane becomes stuck here.
“We have to make the best decision for the safety of our passengers and the integrity of our operation and, quite frankly, the past 2 weeks have been extraordinarily challenging, but it has been an issue largely isolated to Ogdensburg,” said Chaifetz.
Steve Lawrence with the Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authority confirms ice has been an issue on the runway and that the runway was closed a couple of times in January because of it.
Lawrence says, simply put, January has been a challenging month to run an airport in Ogdensburg.
Chaifetz also says not having a hangar to store Contour’s aircraft in Ogdensburg is a challenge in the winter months.
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