Flights resume at Peoria International Airport following two-wave snow storm
Air travel is back up and running at the Peoria International Airport following the mid-week snow storm.
While airlines canceled all flights Wednesday and Thursday morning, most have been rescheduled for Thursday afternoon and evening, Airport Director Gene Olson said.
Around noon Thursday, Olson saw an Allegiant plane pull onto the taxiway – the first airplane to arrive in Peoria since Tuesday evening.
“We keep the runways in good shape,” he said. “Our plowing operation started Tuesday afternoon, evening. We’ve been going continuously since then.”
Though crews kept the runways clear of ice and snow throughout the storm, Olson said airlines weigh a number of factors when deciding to cancel flights.
For example, airlines want to be absolutely sure that when they land in a community, they can get out with little to no issue; Olson said airlines face “hefty fines” if a plane sits on an airport runway for over 2.5 hours.
The one area that’s difficult for the airport to manage, however, is the parking lot.
“We’re not like a shopping center where everybody goes home at night and the contractor can go in there and just rip it, and get it, and get the pavement clean,” he said. “Our parking lot is never empty. There’s always cars in it. Because people make longer trips, right? … Inevitably, there’s no way to avoid it. We build up roadways behind the cars.”
Olson said he does not expect the parking lot to be completely cleared until next week.
If you're returning from a trip and find your car stuck in the parking lot, call the airport's general line, 309-697-8272 and dial extension 1-10 for the operations department.
Olson said someone from the operations team will answer your call, and come dig your car out of the snow.
"All of our vehicles operating in the parking lot have hand shovels in them," he said. "We will help them dig there car out and get them on their way."
In the meantime, he urged travelers to leave themselves plenty of time to get to the airport for their flights, as road conditions are still variable across the Tri-County.
He also encouraged travelers to ensure their airlines have a way to contact them – by email or text, for example – in the event of cancellations, delays or other changes.