Fewer canceled flights to, from SFO

By Jessica Cejnar, The Triplicate July 04, 2013 12:34 pm

After what has been a rough few days for travelers flying into and out of Del Norte County last week, delays and cancellations related to construction at San Francisco International Airport should be winding down, airport officials say.

Ten scheduled flights were canceled in June, said Susan Daugherty, administrative assistant for the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority, which oversees Jack McNamara Field. She estimated that roughly half of those flights were canceled due to the expansion of the runway safety areas at San Francisco International Airport.

The final runway closure in San Francisco occurred last week, causing delays across the board, said Doug Yakel, public information officer for San Francisco International Airport. The closures affected San Francisco’s longer runways, the ones the airport uses for arrivals, he said. Bad weather in San Francisco also exacerbated the delays and cancellations, Yakel said.

“We would have seen delays and cancellations even if we hadn’t had a runway closure,” he said. “We had a good bit of flight cancellation activity on United Express, which obviously impacted Crescent City.”

The second phase of San Francisco’s expansion of its runway safety areas will startnext year and will affect runways used for departing flights, Yakel said. The taxiing process may be a little longer for some planes and passengers may experience departure delays, but not to last week’s extent, he said.

“We’re working on the final details for next year,” Yakel said. “Our plan is at the end of the summer putting out information on the schedule for next year and what we expect in terms of operational impact.”

San Francisco’s expansion of its runway safety areas is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration, said Jim Bernard, airport director at Jack McNamara Field.

“The closures of the facility at (San Francisco Airport) will be rotating around depending on the construction schedule,” Bernard said. “It’s not a blanket closure.”

Del Norte County travelers will soon get an earlier option for flying out of Crescent City, Bernard said. SkyWest Airlines will have an aircraft remain in Del Norte County overnight for flights at about 6 a.m., he said.

Following a spate of cancellations and delays late last year, Border Coast Regional Airport Authority members had planned to visit St. George, Utah, to speak with SkyWest Airlines officials. Bernard said this has not happened yet.

“We may not need to as the problems are pretty endemic throughout the system and based mainly in (San Francisco),” he said.

Passengers can get flight information at united.com, said SkyWest Airlines spokeswoman Marissa Snow. Customers should also include their contact information with their reservation so the airline can inform them of flight changes.

“The construction at San Francisco has been under way for quite some time,” she said. “It’s not new.”

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