Newfoundland and LabradorNewfoundland and Labrador news
Updated: Sat, 12 Jan 2013 14:27:48 GMT | By CBC News,

Snow storm shuts down St. John's airport

Snow storm shuts down St. John's airport

The blizzard that hit Newfoundland on Thursday evening has disrupted around 160 flights at the St. John's airport.

On Friday, the St. John's International Airport said they would resume flight operations at noon on Saturday. However, the airport authority extended the closure until midnight on Saturday.

Passengers expecting to board their flights from St. John's at noon were upset, and people travelling with Air Canada found an unattended service desk.

Marie Manning with the airport authority says the runways have been shut down for almost 48 hours, causing cancellations and delays for many passengers.

"A lot of work has been done, a lot of progress has been made, but there's still more to do," Manning said. "So the decision was made to extend the closure of the airfield so that we can focus on recovering operations without having to be impeded by any flight operations today."

She said this is the most significant snow event in recent history..

"In the past, we've had to close the runway for up to four hours before we could actually get a crew out, but this blizzard lasted about 36 hours and it was 24 hours before it was actually safe for us to bring a team out on to the airfield."

The airport is currently operating at 70 per cent capacity due to the ongoing maintenance workers' strike that started in early September 2012.

Manning said the situation will be assessed again at midnight.

"We are hoping that we won't have to extend [the closure] again, but of course it's a function of the quantity of snow that is out there.'

While the runways are in good shape, the plane de-icing station has yet to be dug out of snow drifts that are approaching 10 feet in height.

Manning recommends passengers check with their airline carriers for updates and flight information.

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