De-icer shortage cancels, delays RIC flights

Posted at 9:31 PM, Mar 17, 2014

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)—The skies might be friendly, but it’s been hard for many passengers to find out as the weather condition keep affecting air travel.

During Monday’s St. Patrick’s Day wintry weather, more than 50 flights were cancelled, and many more delayed. All airlines were affected except for AirTran and Southwest, a RIC spokesperson said.

Turns out that today the culprits were more than just cold, snow, and ice. It’s a depleted supply of de-icer grounding planes.

Delta ran out completely, and American Airlines (which just merged with US Air) almost ran out of de-icer, and most all airlines are having an issue right now keeping the needed material around. According to American Airlines, local suppliers are running short and reaching out to other southern states for reinforcement.

Every time a plane lands, it has to be de-iced before going back up again. That’s why several airlines rerouted flights to avoid landing at RIC. Richmond bound travelers were bussed in from Norfolk because the plane couldn’t land in their hometown.

"So we'll have to come back here tomorrow and most likely do to it again," said Deontae Allen, who was traveling from Ft. Lee with wife and baby, and whose Delta flight to Texas was cancelled.

"They kept delaying our flights and then we were told about the de-icer, they ran out of de-icer," Chris Hauser, Delta passenger, said.

United Airlines used 50-100 gallons of de-icer per plane in today’s conditions. Each truck holds 2,000 gallons and the airline went through 3,500 gallons today.

American Airlines representative said their airline here has gone through more de-icer than in Dulles.

Delta is waiting on a shipment tonight. An order was secured and is expected to arrive at midnight Tuesday.

Every flight that will remain in Richmond will plan to operate, said Lindsay McDuff, Delta Spokeswoman.

United said that all flights took off on Monday, but the process was slow. The spokesperson said it took about 45 minutes to de-ice each plane.