Flights in and out of the Garden City Regional Airport operated as scheduled Tuesday after five days of frequent cancellations due to weather.

As a heavy snowstorm rolled into southwest Kansas last week, the airport canceled its Dec. 26, 2018, evening flight and subsequently the Thursday morning flight. Over the next several days, all flights — morning, afternoon and evening — on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were also canceled, as well as the morning and evening flights on Monday.

Monday afternoon flights went forward and the runway opened Saturday, but only for smaller aircrafts, said the airport’s Director of Aviation Rachelle Powell.

The storm, which blanketed Garden City Thursday in six inches of snow and berated it with 60 mph winds, caused white-out and zero-visibility conditions that grounded earlier flights on Thursday, Powell said.

When the winds subsided, Powell said Thursday that the runway was covered in a sheet of solid ice that would not heed to equipment or chemical treatment. The sheet would ultimately prove to be approximately 6 inches thick, she said Monday.

Issues persisted over the next few days as snow blowing over the pavement created more icing issues, made difficult to fight by an encroaching cold front, Powell said Monday. Airport staff had used eight tons of chemicals and equipment to slowly shave away the hard, compacted ice off the runway, she said.

On Monday, the taxiways and apron still had patchy ice, though staff was able to eliminate a persistent issue of melting and refreezing snow and ice on the touchdown point for the airline that had previously rendered it unsafe, Powell said.

With the issues subsiding and warmer temperatures on the horizon, Powell said conditions looked better for the days ahead and she expected flights to move forward as scheduled for the rest of the week, weather permitting.


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