YPR has a number of equipment to help ensure successful winter travels

YPR has a number of equipment to help ensure successful winter travels

YPR explains diverted flight from 2011

Speculation of airport employees started after a flight that was scheduled to land at YPR was diverted to Prince George.

Over a month ago, speculation of airport employees started after a flight that was scheduled to land at YPR was diverted to Prince George.

YPR is now explaining what happened with the incident, and reassuring the public that YPR employees have been doing everything they can to ensure successful winter traveling.

“We want people to know how we do our work because we’ve heard that our staff are being criticized for not being vigilant. We have the best equipment and the best teams and we are very diligent,” commented Rick Reed, Manager of Prince Rupert Airport.

According to Reed, Prince Rupert’s airport has the highest flight arrival success in the Northwest, only having one late arrival flight due to weather conditions in 2011. Those numbers are impressive when compared to the Northwest Regional Airport’s 39 canceled flights due to weather in 2011.

“The number of flights missed in a year in a percentage would be something like .001 percent,” said Reed.

YPR is capable of having so little late arrivals and canceled fights in part by the airport’s winter operations team, and a number of pieces of useful equipment. This includes a powerful wheel loader, two plow trucks, one of which was purchased in 2011, two runway sweepers that are towed behind the plow trucks, as well as a newly delivered chemical spreader that tells where to apply chemical melters.

Even with all of this equipment, YPR employees still have issues to work around, including a runway that is sloped from the east side to the west side, unlike most runways which are crowned so any water that lands on it will slide off, and of course the unpredictable Northern weather.

The late arrival that arose questions happened at the end of 2011.  On December 30, YPR’s runway was prepared for the next morning’s Air Canada Express flight from Vancouver, however overnight five to six inches of snow fell. With the cold temperature, the brine solution formed from the chemical melter cooled and froze, with snow falling on top of it, formed an ice bond with the runway surface. According to YPR, it takes around 45 to 60 minutes to clear a runway to a width of 120 feet long its 6,000-foot length.

The arrival of an Air Canada Express flight that left the Vancouver airport at 8:05 a.m. was delayed on December 31, 2011, when a combination of weather conditions caused problems for the runway. Like YPR, airports in Terrace and Smithers were also not available, so the flight had to go to Prince George to wait for normal operations at YPR to occur. Although many passengers found the unscheduled trip frustrating, they were at YPR by 1 p.m. when the runway was safe for landing.