A story in Monday’s News Tribune told about an increase in late flight departures at the Duluth International Airport as the number of total flights nearly tripled in the last five years.
A lot depends on the weather, not just here but at the big hub airports — namely Minneapolis, Chicago and Detroit — where Duluth flights now go.
Executive Director Brian Ryks of the Duluth Airport Authority wasn’t aware of an alarming problem with late flights.
Alarming? Probably not. And interviews with passengers coming and going last week yielded few complaints.
Ryks said the airport’s focus is more on flight completion to avoid canceled flights. And in that regard, Duluth is doing well.
“If there is an issue, our main concern is, is there a plan in place to accommodate passengers?” Ryks said. Contributing to the greater percentage of late flights in Duluth has been United Airlines’ daily direct flights between Duluth and Chicago. Since United started Duluth service in December, 20 percent of its flights have been late, says Wes Horrocks of SkyWest Airlines, which operates United’s Duluth flights.
(But again, I was hard-pressed to find anyone complaining last week when some flights were actually arriving early and the weather was beautiful).
“Our priority is to ensure our passengers arrive at their destination on time, with their bags, as scheduled,” Horrocks said.
While United has fallen short in that regard, in all but two of those months, SkyWest got its planes there. And in those other two months, 98 percent of its flights got to their destination, he said.