High winds and cold weather cause flight delays, cancellations

    Alaska airlines de-icer truck at GPIA. (NBC Montana Photo)

    Cold weather and high winds can cause some problems for flights, which was the case Saturday morning at Kalispell's airport.

    The winds were gusting at Glacier Park International Airport on Saturday and the wind chill was in the negatives. It's one of the reasons flights could be cancelled or delayed.

    United airlines cancelled two of their flights Saturday morning due to the severe weather.

    GPIA director Rob Ratkowski said airlines may cancel because they can not de-ice the planes. When the wind is strong, they may not be able to physically get the de-icer on the aircraft.

    It also can be very dangerous for employees who have to go up in a bucket truck to de-ice and in freezing temperatures.

    "The bottom line is we want to make sure everyone gets to where they are going safely and so sometimes like I say they just run up against those limitations and they are there for a reason to keep people safe," Ratkowski told NBC Montana.

    Ratkowski said in high wind and cold events the airport itself does not have trouble.

    "We actually do okay on these events for the most part the actual airport facility stays open”, said Ratkowski. “Whether the aircraft can operate here or not is kind of a whole different question."

    This is why Ratowski said it's important check the flight status with the air carrier to see if there are any delays or cancellations.

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