Just when we Northeast Ohioans thought the 2010-2011 snow season was starting to come to a close, we get yet another snow storm after several days of rain and flooding. It seems like we haven't been able to catch a break at all, let alone the rest of the country, when it comes to this weather.
The snow removal crew here at CAK has put in countless hours clearing the airport's runways, taxiways, and ramps in order ensure the safety of flight operations. Due to their efforts, we have never had to close the airport once this winter. For the 6+ years I have been working here, we have never closed the airport for weather. In fact, most employees here can't remember the last time the airport was closed for weather. That's just not something we do around here. The snow removal crew here at the airport takes pride in this fact and will go the extra mile to ensure flights can get in or out, even during some of the worst weather imaginable. Chances are if your flight has ever been cancelled while trying to make it into or out of CAK, it's because the airline decided to cancel it, not because the airport was closed. Case in point, several weeks ago when there was a horrible freezing rain storm, all the airlines at the airport cancelled their flights, that is, except for US Airways.Despite the bad weather, US Airways continued to operate flights.I would like to think that their dispatchers took into account our history of keeping the airport open as they were sending flights our way.
As the winter season (hopefully) winds down, it's interesting to look back and see the expense that has gone into keeping the airfield open: the hours of overtime pay, pavement chemicals, equipment maintenance, gasoline and diesel fuel, and the countless meals from Papa Bear's, Rockne's, and MSE (we need fuel too).It's not cheap, but when travelers can visit loved ones, make it to a business meeting, or go on a trip to someplace warmer than Ohio with minimal delay, it's well worth it. Next time you fly into or out of CAK in the middle of winter, make sure to call your airline to confirm the flight status, and remember, we'll keep the airport open for you.