Monday, July 20, 2015

SEEING WHITE AT YYT

Another chilly damp wet and potentially foggy start to the week out here in on the Eastern tip of North America which means more chaos for travelers at St. John's International Airport.

Despite the low ceiling, the YYT website is showing Kristine's flight to New York is going to depart on time - for now. The departure board is starting to fill up with red this morning as the combination of thick fog, low cloud ceiling and ongoing runway construction conspire to delay and cancel flights.

The low-visibility weather has caused dozens of flights to be cancelled this month. Travelers to the capital have been arriving, as often as not, by bus from Gander. Last week Aidan's return flight from the U.K was diverted to the Central Newfoundland airport postponing a congratulatory welcome home to the returning award winning Shallaway Choir.

Ironically, the delays and cancellations are the result of the airports decision to
carry out renovations on its primary runway to complete a $37 million improvement to the landing system which will result in a predicted 99% flight reliability. The airport had expected that up to five percent of flights could be affected by the five month construction plan that will see a Category 3 Instrument Landing System (Cat 3 ILS) installed.

Fog traditionally plays havoc with the airport in the Spring months. This July has been particularly foggy as a result of unseasonably cool temperatures.  The fog is part of life out here in the North Atlantic but the investments in state-of-the-art technology means lessening the impact of low-visibility weather conditions on operations. The closure of the main runway also means that crosswinds can not be accommodated as easily, making landings more difficult.

The new landing system should reverse our reputation as being inaccessible due to fog. Tourism and airport marketers in the province must be looking forward to promoting a more reliable destination for tourists and conventions. One can only imagine the havoc this months flight delays have had on those industries!

Watch an Airbus 320 approach and land in fog at Vienna Airport using a CAT 3 ILS system.


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