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Equipment failure causes flight cancellations at Sault airport

Overnight flights have been cancelled since de-icing system broke down Tuesday morning
Sault Ste. Marie Airport file photo

Overnight flights have been grounded at Sault Ste. Marie Airport after the de-icing system broke down Tuesday morning due to hydraulic failure.  

Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Terry Bos says it’s his understanding that Executive Aviation, the airport’s fixed-base operator that handles a number of its ground operations, is currently in the process of hauling a backup de-icing unit to Sault Ste. Marie on a flatbed from London, Ont. 

“It’s unfortunate. It really hurts,” Bos told SooToday Thursday morning. 

The loss of the de-icing system is bad timing, Bos added, considering the time of year and the fact that passenger “numbers have not been good to begin with” at the airport over the past three months. 

Earlier this week, the airport reported a 32 per cent decrease in air passenger traffic in November compared to 2019.       

“Anything that affects air travel negatively is obviously not the kind of picture that we want to be seeing at this time,” Bos said.

It’s anticipated the backup de-icing unit could be up and running as early as 3 p.m. Thursday, weather permitting.  

“Today is really going to be difficult, because with precipitation like we’re getting right now, there would not be the ability to have an aircraft leave here because it would have to be de-iced,” said Bos. “The sooner they can get that machine here, the better.

“But right now, based on this weather forecast, it’s going to be really tough.”

Sault Ste. Marie Airport is advising travellers to check flight statuses online before leaving for the airport due to heavy winds and precipitation forecasted for Thursday. 

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James Hopkin

About the Author: James Hopkin

James Hopkin is a reporter for SooToday in Sault Ste. Marie
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