East Coast storm disrupting Pittsburgh air traffic
The winter storm that began pounding the Eastern seaboard on Friday is expected to disrupt air traffic in Western Pennsylvania at least through Saturday.
As of 6:30 p.m., airlines canceled 19 flights scheduled to take off from or fly to Pittsburgh International Airport on Saturday, according to the flight tracking website flightstats.com.
“There has been a lot of pre-planning with this storm,” said airport spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny.
“I think people are taking the advance warnings very seriously, and that has helped to prevent major disruptions here at the airport,” Jenny said.
Airlines canceled 30 scheduled departing flights and 27 flights en route to Pittsburgh on Friday, flightstats.com said. Another 45 flights were delayed, the website said.
Nationwide, airlines canceled more than 3,300 flights and delayed more than 4,100 others on Friday, flightstats.com said. Airlines scrapped more than 1,400 flights scheduled for Saturday as of Friday evening, the website said.
Employees at rental car companies and the airport's Hyatt Hotel reported no surge in business from stranded fliers. Likewise, they said they didn't see a drop-off because travelers couldn't make it to Pittsburgh after cancellations elsewhere.
“There hasn't been much of a pick-up (in business). I think people had a lot of advance warning this time around,” said an employee at the airport's Hyatt Regency who declined to be identified.
Jenny said the airport expected to serve as a parking lot of sorts for empty planes that airlines wanted to keep out of snow-socked airports in the Northeast to prevent damage. No empty planes were moved to Pittsburgh as of early Friday night.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or email@example.com.