Re: Snow planning

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
Date:         11 Jan 96 04:08:36 
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>So WHY did they abandon such large portions of the fleet in the
>Ground Zero airports? Why not ferry them anywhere of the area ahead
>of time? Then they'd at least be available for use --

I don't know about the other airlines, but United got most of their
planes out, ending up with only 17 stranded at snowed-in airports.
Many were sitting at O'Hare, but that's because they didn't have any
place to fly them, not because they *couldn't* fly them.  Some that
were stuck may not have had a reason to be elsewhere -- UA has only
two 747-222Bs, for example, which fly JFK/EWR-NRT exclusively.  Except
for some damage potential, as you note, they had no reason to fly out
the one in the New York area so I imagine it was one of the 17 that
stayed.  (The other one presumably sat in Tokyo until New York opened
up again.)

>as it was, they cancelled 33% of all domestic flights; I'd guess at
>least a third were due to equipment shortfalls.

I seriously doubt lack of equipment was the problem.  Given that all
three northeast shuttle airports (BOS, LGA, DCA) were closed, along
the major eastern transcon airports (JFK, IAD) and big eastern hubs
(EWR, PHL, BWI), I would not be surprised if ~33% of all domestic
flights were cancelled simply because they were supposed to go to or
from one of the airports that was closed.

There might be other problems, too, like having the equipment but not
having it in the right place, or not having crews.  I flew DCA-MIA a
year or so ago and the plane was flying its last leg of a long day --
EUG-SFO-DEN-BWI-DCA-MIA.  A problem at DEN, for example, might have
meant no aircraft to fly my DCA-MIA flight because the plane was in
SFO, or perhaps no crew if a DEN-based crew was supposed to fly the
last three segments.

>Or they could pull maintenance cycles on 'em -- unless the maint.
>base was covered.

Most maintenance is scheduled years in advance, or at least *many*
months, and the maintenance bases are kept busy.  There would be
neither reason nor resources to perform maintenance just because the
aircraft has nothing better to do that day.

>Not to mention the possibility of damage from plows & thrown snow
>with (oops) other stuff in it, or such.

Perhaps, though an airliner is a pretty sturdy piece of equipment,
plus I suspect the usual hubbub at an airport (often including snow
plowing in the winter) provides at least as much opportunity for

Karl Swartz	|Home
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