- City of Columbia Interim City Manager John Glascock addressed the public and members of the media at a press conference on the afternoon of Monday, April 8 regarding the sudden cancelation of flights by regional carriers at Columbia Regional Airport over the weekend. Below is the message he delivered at the press conference.
First and foremost, I want to thank our customers for their patronage and I want to sincerely apologize for the frustration and confusion this situation has caused. I am sorry. We will work quickly to mitigate the concerns expressed by our airline partners and their pilots. Safety is our top priority at Columbia Regional Airport and we have been and are listening, assessing, planning and fixing to address the expressed concerns.
This morning we met with representatives from United Airlines and American Airlines, as well as their regional carriers Air Wisconsin, SkyWest, Mesa Airlines and Envoy Air, along with officials from the FAA, our consulting engineering firm Burns & McDonnell and Emery Sapp & Sons (ESS) contractors. During these meetings, we were able to get a clear understanding of the concerns the pilots have regarding the runway 13-31 and 2-20 intersection. Their comments were consistent with the feedback we received over the weekend when the concerns were first brought to our attention. 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 and landing.
Even though runway 13-31 is fully FAA compliant, we want to address the pilots’ safety concerns and ensure our customers have a good experience while traveling in and out of COU. We have listened to the feedback from the airlines and our customers, and we’re taking action. We are diligently working with Burns & McDonnell and the FAA to evaluate and modify the elevation of the crown. We will make minor modifications to the crown that will allow for a smoother takeoff and landing while maintaining compliance with the FAA.
Our plan is to close runway 13-31 on Tuesday, April 9 to begin modifications. During this time, the airport will be closed to all commercial and general aviation traffic. These drastic steps are required so that we can open COU back to all air traffic as quickly as possible and cause the least amount of disruption to our customers. We currently expect to reopen COU on Tuesday, April 16 to all traffic. Some airlines may resume service on April 16 or wait until April 17. This schedule is dependent on weather and other factors which may arise. Our partner airlines will update their reservation systems based on the updates we provide to them during the project.
We will be sharing daily updates with our customers and our airline partners. During this process, we want to be transparent with you and make sure you are informed. As with any travel to and from COU, passengers should contact their airline directly to rebook or reschedule flights. United Airlines can be reached by calling 800-864-8331 and American Airlines can be reached by calling 800-433-7300.
Again, I sincerely apologize to our customers who have been and will be impacted by this closure. We will work as quickly and efficiently as possible with our partners to make the modifications and begin air service again soon. Previous press releases:
4/6/2019 - Some regional carriers temporarily suspend flights at Columbia Regional Airporthttps://www.como.gov/CMS/pressreleases/view.php?id=6115
4/7/2019 - April 7 update from Interim City Manager John Glascock regarding Columbia Regional Airporthttps://www.como.gov/CMS/pressreleases/view.php?id=6116