Diversions, Cancellations Thanks To Storm

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A Singapore Airlines A380 diverted to Stewart Airport about 80 miles north of its destination of JFK, one of many diversions caused by a massive winter storm affecting the entire Eastern part of the U.S. JFK rejected the Super Jumbo because of whiteout conditions and the contaminated runway. Stewart wasn't much better but the aircraft landed safely on the 10,800-foot runway of the former Strategic Air Command base and the 325 passengers were bussed to the Big Apple three hours later. The storm has severely affected airline, general aviation and even marine operations from Maine to northern Florida. 

Meteorologists are calling for heavy snow and high wind warnings along the entire Eastern Seaboard and are expecting the storm to undergo “bombogenesis,” which is defined as a “quick strengthening of a cyclonic low-pressure into an explosive development” known ominously within the meteorological community as a “weather bomb.” According to flight tracking service FlightAware.com, airlines on Thursday canceled hundreds of flights in the afflicted areas in anticipation of the storm.

Most airlines issue waivers to passengers with bookings to allow those passengers to alter travel plans without fees or higher fares for a few days after such events. Because of the network nature of airline travel, large disruptions in heavily trafficked areas cause ripple effects of delays and cancellations around the country and even globally as aircraft and flight crews get delayed, stranded, rerouted or canceled. Newly updated flight crew duty restrictions also play a role as delayed flight crews start “timing out” on available flight and duty time availability and must enter mandatory rest periods, often, ironically, just as the flying weather improves and operations resume.

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