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Blackout affects flights

Northerners faced delays in getting home

Amy Collins
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 20/03) - Flights continued as scheduled for Canadian North and First Air last Thursday and Friday even though the blackout in Ontario shut down related carriers such as Air Canada's operations centre, near Toronto.

Nonetheless, there was a lot of re-booking for later flights, said Ed Roussy, a reservation specialist for Canadian North.

"Connecting flights were late," he said.

If someone missed the flight from Toronto to Edmonton, they would undoubtedly miss the connection flight from Edmonton to Yellowknife, he said.

Still, both Canadian North and First Air said the blackout didn't really affect them.

"People booked got through," said Terri Rogers, a First Air representative.

She said that the company had to re-book a few people but no flights were cancelled due to Ontario and New York's power problems.

Coleen McDonald was delayed for two hours in Sudbury.

"I thought it was pretty good, considering the blackout," she said Saturday afternoon.

Marlene Dobson said she and her family were only delayed for 20 minutes in Regina.

"They were waiting for clearance from Winnipeg," she said.

The air traffic control computers were down and they had to it manually.

"I found it kind of strange. It's like the weather here is from Edmonton."

Others had harder times trying to get to Yellowknife.

"I was very much affected by the blackout," Slavica Stojkanovich said.

She was travelling in Europe when the major power outage occurred. Her flight to Toronto from Munich was cancelled.

Fortunately she got on another flight five hours later.

Then the Saturday night flight from Edmonton was cancelled when the plane had engine troubles.

Susan Catlin, who was on the same cancelled flight, had similar troubles.

She and three others arrived at the Toronto airport two hours early for fear of long line-ups.

"The airport was understaffed. There would be huge lines and one person at the end of it," Catlin said.

Then their plane was delayed for an hour because the conveyors weren't working. Their luggage didn't make the first flight.

Catlin also had to stay overnight at Edmonton.

"We were already late, running and then we found out it was cancelled."

Both Catlin and Stojkanovich finally arrived in Yellowknife Sunday morning.