Last week’s winter storms caused the cancellation of two flights at Central Nebraska Regional Airport and led a Grand Island-bound flight to be diverted to Omaha.
The canceled flights, both on Tuesday, were an Allegiant Air flight to Phoenix-Mesa and an American Eagle flight to Dallas/Fort Worth. The airlines grounded the planes because of low visibility, caused by blowing wind and snow, said Mike Olson, the airport’s executive director.
“The visibility was so bad it was even dangerous for our snow removal equipment to be out there because you can’t see where you’re going,” Olson said.
Both of those planes left on Wednesday morning.
On Saturday night, because of the wind, an American Eagle flight from Dallas was diverted to Omaha. That plane made it to Grand Island on Sunday morning.
During Friday’s rain, the airport spent a lot of money putting deicing fluid on the runway to prevent ice from forming, “because as soon as that rain hit that cold pavement it froze,” Olson said.
Unfortunately, the bad weather “hit right at Thanksgiving time,” he said. But the weather was bad in a lot of places throughout the country, “especially in the northern half of the country and California.
2019, though, has been good to Central Nebraska Regional Airport.
“We’re going to have a record-breaking year,” he said.
The current record, set in 2016, is 69,009 passengers. This year, “I think we’ll hit closer to 71,000.”
Olson expects a good December. Allegiant has added flights to Las Vegas in honor of the National Finals Rodeo. Flights have also been added to Phoenix-Mesa.
Last week’s bad weather might also help boardings in the future. Not wanting a repeat experience, maybe people are making reservations to head south in January and February.
Allegiant provides service to Phoenix/Mesa on 186-seat Airbus A-320 aircrafts and to Las Vegas on a 156-seat Airbus A-319.
American flies to Dallas/Fort Worth on 44- and 50-seat Embraer regional jets.