ST. GEORGE – The St. George Municipal Airport has reopened Sunday morning although Delta Connection and United Express flights operated by SkyWest Airlines have seen morning delays and cancellations respectively.
In response to dangerous runway conditions at the airport Saturday arising from a heavy snow storm in the region, SkyWest canceled their last scheduled outbound flight to Salt Lake City and last scheduled inbound flight Saturday night, as well as the first Sunday morning flight and the Sunday roundtrip flight to Denver.
The next scheduled flight out is from St. George to Salt Lake City, currently scheduled to depart with a 90-120 minute delay, SkyWest Airlines spokesperson Marissa Snow said. Customers of SkyWest-Delta are asked to monitor flight status and schedules on Delta.com.
The first flight into St. George has been cleared and should arrive in St. George around 2 p.m., Snow said at 1:29 p.m. Sunday.
Both Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manger of St. George, and Brad Kitchen, airport operations supervisor, said the airport reopened Sunday by 10 a.m.
“The runway is clear, the taxiways are clear,” Mortensen said Sunday morning, “we had a crew working around the clock last night and this morning trying to clear that runway.”
A mechanical problem with one of the SkyWest planes has delayed its service, Kitchen said. Snow said that to her knowledge there was no engine issue this morning.
“According to our captains,” Snow said, “(the runway) is not operational for ice on the runway. If we can continue to work on the runway, we can operate the next flight, which is delayed one hour.”
Subsequently, at 12:40 a.m., Kitchen said that he had talked with the captain of the next scheduled flight out, it is cleared to proceed once a part needed for the plane’s mechanical issue arrives from a plane en route from Salt Lake City. The runway, he said, is clear for use.
Although the runways are open, the airport operations crew still has lots of other roads around the airport to clear, Kitchen said.
The City of St. George does not have snow removal equipment except for the snow plow required for airport operations. The demand on that plow at the airport did not leave room for using it elsewhere Saturday and it is required to service the airport.
“As soon as we get everything on the airport plowed off, and we feel secure,” Kitchen said, “(sharing it) wouldn’t be a problem.”
Airport Parkway has been cleared around the airport and crews are clearing it to the southern corridor.
Southern Parkway, the main artery access to the airport, is a Utah Department of Transportation responsibility. At 12:14 p.m., UDOT traffic cams show the parkway as passable but yet covered with snow.
Banded Hills Drive that provides access to the airport at its west side from Little Valley Road is cleared for use, Kitchen said.
Airport crews are continuing to work on getting all the roads and parkways surrounding and servicing the airport cleared.
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St. George News reporter Drew Allred contributed to this report.
Ed. note – At the request of Snow, clarification made: Skywest Airlines operates Delta Connection and United Express. Snow’s title changed from Manager | Corporate Communications, as indicated in email correspondence, to spokesperson at her request.
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