Over the course of eight days, 55 flights scheduled in and out of West Kootenay Regional Airport had to be cancelled, according to information available on Air Canada’s website.
Records accessible using Air Canada’s Flight Status page at aircanada.com show that between Dec. 7 and 14, 55 out of 56 flights were cancelled. The one flight that did land arrived from Vancouver on Tuesday, Dec. 12 and was delayed by an hour and 15 minutes.
Gerry Rempel, the airport manager, said a low cloud ceiling was behind the cancelled flights.
“We’re still working in that new landing system of course, but as far as now, there’s not a lot anyone can do about it. It’s just the weather conditions,” he said.
Vancouver International Airport also experienced dense fog during the period, which impacted flights.
“Fog and low ceilings in Castlegar and also weather (fog) in Vancouver (particularly on Dec. 14) impacted departures to Castlegar,” said a representative from Jazz Aviation, which operates the flights for Air Canada under the Air Canada Express brand. “Our SOC personnel at Jazz closely monitor weather across our operation of approximately 660 daily flights to ensure a safe operation as our top priority.”
Passengers can check Air Canada’s daily travel outlook at aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/fly/flight-information/daily-travel-outlook.html. The page also links to information on what to do if your flight is cancelled.
Ron Lakeman, weather forecaster for the Southeast Fire Centre, said Friday that the valley cloud in Castlegar over the past week and a half has been borderline in terms of the ceiling limit for pilots to land.
“We had a big blocking ridge of high pressure basically from Dec. 3 through yesterday,” Lakeman explained.
He said that weather patterns like the one that caused the low valley cloud are fairly common — just not in December.
“It’s more typical of February,” said Lakeman. “It definitely happens each winter. Some winters it’s more common than others.”