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Winter blast strands some airline travelers in Cleveland and Akron

Beacon Journal staff report

The cold weather took its toll on flights at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and has had a more limited impact at Akron-Canton Airport.

The cancellations were not due to weather conditions in Northeast Ohio, but in other parts of the country that were experiencing the cold and snow, including Chicago, New York and Detroit, airport officials said.

At Hopkins, a little more than 200 flights were cancelled on Tuesday, about the same number as Monday, said airport spokeswoman Jackie Mayo.

The flights were pre-canceled, many before the storms and cold fronts hit, by the airlines, said Mayo.

The airlines began pulling down flights and delaying flights where the bad weather was expected, said Mayo.

“It’s a giant ripple effect,” she said.

While several airlines had delays and cancellations, the majority of the flights canceled at Hopkins were by United since the airport is a hub, Mayo said.

Hopkins was running at about 70 percent of normal capacity on Tuesday, Mayo said, mostly to destinations that are not affected by the frigid weather.

Mayo said because the cancellations were before flights took off and because travelers have alerts and can check on flights, there were very few travelers stranded at the airport.

At Akron-Canton Airport, the airlines were operating at about 90 percent capacity, said spokeswoman Kristie Van Auken.

Van Auken said the delays and cancellations have been small, “which I think is really great, in spite of the weather.”

Van Auken said most of the flights canceled or delayed have been United flights going to Chicago.

“Its a system wide issue,” she said.

The planes that have been taking off have been de-iced and prepared and planes these days are designed to be cold-weather machines, she said.

“They’re flying up at 50,000 feet — it’s cold up there. The airplanes themselves are pretty hearty. Thankfully, our airline operations crews are also hearty,” she said. “It’s definitely a cold, miserable job.”


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