- Columbia Interim City Manager John Glascock issued the following statement on Sunday, April 7 regarding Columbia Regional Airport.
The sudden cancellation of flights by regional carriers at COU has caused many people to delay travel plans, work to rebook flights from other airports, and caused frustration and perhaps anger. For that, we apologize and we are sorry. We value and appreciate our customers, surrounding communities and partners for supporting Columbia Regional Airport and we will strive to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.
Airport Manager Mike Parks, Economic Development Director Stacey Button who has oversight at COU, our consulting engineering firm Burns & McDonnell, as well as many others, have all been working around the clock this weekend to fully understand the airlines’ concerns and what actions can possibly be taken for our airline partners to resume service at COU as soon as possible.
As part of our ongoing discussions with the airlines, they have indicated that they are concerned about the "crown" on runway 2-20 where it intersects runway 13-31. The crown is required by the FAA in all main runways to assist with water draining off of the runway, much like a road is crowned to assist in draining water. This crown can cause the feeling of hitting a bump during takeoff/landing.
Columbia Regional Airport embarked on a bold Master Plan in 2009 to address a number of infrastructure projects to ensure COU had adequate infrastructure to handle the needs of a modern commercial fleet. A part of that plan was to replace the original crosswind runway to accommodate commercial air traffic when the main runway (2-20), which is 50 years old, would need maintenance. In 2017 the secondary runway (13-31) was completely rebuilt in anticipation of the main runway maintenance project in 2019.
While planning for the main runway maintenance project, we consulted many times with our partners, including the airlines, to inquire about any concerns. At the time, none mentioned the crown in the main runway as being an issue. The crosswind runway has been used numerous times by the airlines since its completion and no concerns were voiced to us by the airlines.
I have personally inspected the runway and discussed potential resolutions with engineers from Burns & McDonnell and provided my professional suggestions as a civil engineer to remove or reduce this crown during the time runway 13-31 is operating as COU’s primary runway. We will discuss those options with the airlines and the FAA on Monday morning.
Airlines determine their flight schedules and statuses and you should continue to contact your airline to check the status of your flight. United Airlines can be reached by calling 800-864-8331 and American Airlines can be reached by calling 800-433-7300.
Additional information will be shared as soon as it’s available.Original press release:
Some regional carriers temporarily suspend flights at Columbia Regional Airport - 4/6/2019https://www.como.gov/CMS/pressreleases/view.php?id=6115