The Comox Valley Airport saw an increase of 5.1 per cent for the 2016 calendar year. Some flights have been delayed or cancelled in and out of Comox Airport due to winter weather. Black Press file photo

Snowstorms playing havoc with Island airports

Nanaimo and Comox dealing with cancellations due to visibility issues.

Travellers expecting to fly out of mid-Vancouver Island’s two major airports might be out of luck.

WestJet and Air Canada have cancelled multiple flights out of Nanaimo Airport today as a result of weather conditions across the country. And Comox is having similar — if less severe — issues.

Air Canada’s 3:25 p.m., 5:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. flights from Nanaio to Vancouver have all been cancelled while WestJet has cancelled its 7:15 p.m. flight to Calgary, according to the Nanaimo Airport’s website. Meanwhile, all flights scheduled to arrive at the airport after 3 p.m. today have been cancelled.

Air Canada has also cancelled its 5:50 a.m. and 7:20 a.m. flights to Vancouver on Tuesday. WestJet’s 6 a.m. flight to Calgary and 6:30 a.m. flight to Vancouver have also been cancelled.

Mike Hooper, YCD’s president and chief executive officer, said the airport remains open for business but weather issues throughout the country are forcing airlines to cancel flights.

“There are issues in the system all the way back to Eastern Canada,” he said. “So, we’ve got cancellations happening.”

Hooper said travellers impacted by delays or cancellations should reach out to the airline and can do so by visiting the airport’s website. He said the decision to cancel flights falls with the airline and not the airport.

“It is the airline’s call because they might have a cancellation back east or somewhere that doesn’t allow the aircraft to come here,” Hooper said. “We can’t predict that type of thing. It is up to the air carrier.”

Meanwhile travellers flying out of Comox Airport may have a little bit more luck than their counterparts in the south Island, but winter weather is making its presence known on air travel.

Fred Bigelow, CEO of YQQ said because the airport uses instrument approaches for both of their runways, there is a little bit more flexibility than the Nanaimo.

RELATED: Weather conditions force multiple flight cancellations at Nanaimo Airport

In Comox, WestJet flights from Edmonton and Vancouver are delayed but are set to arrive an hour behind schedule respectively. WestJet has cancelled its 5:39 p.m. flight arriving from Calgary and its outbound 6:30 p.m. flight departing YQQ for Calgary Monday evening.

“Snow is the common denominator – it brings the visibility down much more than rain,” explained Bigelow. “There are always concerns from an airport about their ability to keep runways and taxiways clear, but the team at 19 Wing is incredible and always keeps the airport open.”

While the airport terminal is operated by the Comox Valley Airport Commission, the operation and maintenance of runways fall under the military’s jurisdiction. Because of 407 Squadron and the search and rescue operations, the airport is open 24/7, added Bigelow.

He encouraged passengers to check their airlines prior to departure or use third-party apps such as FlightAware which track flights in real time.



erin.haluschak@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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