GRR field maintenance working around the clock keeping one runway clear

Jan 30, 2019

Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Credit Gerald R. Ford International Airport

More than 1,600 flights were canceled at Chicago's airports Wednesday, including more than 1,300 at O'Hare International Airport, one of the nation's largest airports. Once again, those flight cancellations rippled through the system impacting Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

Cascade Township’s Gerald R. Ford International Airport operates two commercial aircraft runways. With the heavy snow and gusty winds creating blowing and drifting airport ground crews are working around the clock keeping that one runway clear.

“That’s basically been our issue at the airport all week. The field maintenance they’ve been out constantly running the plows.”

Alicia Roberts is Marketing Coordinator with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority.

“Our priority is to make sure that it is safe for the passengers, for the airlines, for everybody. That is our number one priority to make sure that it is safe for people to fly in and out.”

That means intermittently halting runway traffic.

“That’s because they need to get out there and run the plows so a plane may need to circle for 20 minutes or so while they get the runway clear and then they’ll be cleared to land.”

It’s a tactic that works with fewer flights in the system. And while the dangerously cold temperatures are an inconvenience, deicing fluids work at sub-zero temperatures.

Before heading out to the airport Roberts recommends you check with flyford.org or airline websites for cancelations.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.