Weather

DEREK CLARKSTON/Kodiak Daily Mirror

Icicles form on the American Legion building in downtown Kodiak in 2020. 

Cold weather and poor runway conditions have left flights canceled or rescheduled and Kodiakans stranded either in Anchorage or hoping to leave the Rock, according to a Alaska Department of Transportation spokesperson. 

“Winter weather conditions in Kodiak have affected visibility, wind and surface conditions at the airport,” said Sam Dapcevich, DOT spokesperson for Alaska’s Southcoast area. “Any one of these weather-related conditions can impair the ability of aircraft to operate at the airport.”

Dapcevich said that in some cases “weather conditions created challenges with keeping the runway surface clear of ice, while visibility and wind conditions were acceptable.”

Some flights were able to come in during the past week when weather conditions permitted, but some operators decided to cancel because of the icy conditions. 

Canceled flights and safety decision determinations are made on a number of levels, according to Dapcevich.

“There is a standardized system by the Federal Aviation Administration in place that DOT&PF uses to report airport conditions,” he said. “Ultimately, the decision to operate in and out of the airport is made by the airlines.”

According to tracking data from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, both flights scheduled to land in Kodiak arrived on Thursday. However, the morning flight departing from Kodiak was canceled. 

A Friday morning flight scheduled to leave for Anchorage was delayed. According to Alaska Airlines, the main commercial flight flying between Kodiak and Anchorage, weather caused several delays between Nov. 24 and Friday.

“Weather disruptions over the past two weeks required the cancellations of 13 Alaska Airlines passenger flights to and from Kodiak, which created travel delays for hundreds of our guests,” the airline said in a statement to KDM Friday. “We apologize for the inconvenience they experienced. We’re always working safely and efficiently, as weather permits this time of year, to make sure our guests have a great flight with us.”

Dapcevich said that DOT crews on the ground in Kodiak put in extra efforts and overtime to attempt to keep the runways safe and clear, but at times became overwhelmed.

“DOT & PF staff in Kodiak have been working diligently to address the winter conditions in Kodiak [last week],” Dapcevich saud. “Sometimes the weather conditions are such that despite our best efforts we are not able to keep up with what mother nature throws at us.”

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