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Winter conditions causing problems for airport

Winter conditions this month have caused problems for people using Dayton International Airport and employees working to keep runways clean.

Nine Delta Airlines flights and four AirTran Airways flights from Dayton to Atlanta have been cancelled since Tuesday as the result of the massive snow storm in Georgia. The snow pileup here also is causing issues.

Terrance Slaybaugh, director of aviation, said the Dayton airport isn’t staffed to go through a prolonged weather period like the one that’s kept such a tight grip on the Miami Valley for the past couple of weeks.

“Just this weekend we had our equipment operators out on the runway for three days straight,” he said. “That begins to present problems to us as time goes on from the standpoint of staff, fatigue and equipment.

On Thursday, travelers were delayed again. Jordan Vellky, a University of Dayton student trying to get to Atlanta for a graduate school interview, was among them. She said she saw her flight was initially canceled and rescheduled for a 1:30 p.m. departure. Then it was delayed again until 4:30 p.m.

“I guess I’m just going to go back to class now,” she said. “I’m skipping now, so that’s frustrating.”

Hundreds of flights to Atlanta have been canceled in the wake of a snow storm that moved through the area earlier in the week. Slaybaugh said he’s aware those developments have hampered some travelers trying to leave Dayton, but solutions are hard to come by.

“I think the airlines did a nice job getting out in front of that, so we didn’t see a lot of people at the airport,” he said. “They were notified before they came out.”

But there are still hardships ahead.

“The big challenge is going to be getting re-booked,” he said. “There’s only a limited number of seats in the market. That could frustrate passengers through the rest of the week.”

Slaybaugh said warmer conditions would be welcomed.

“Hopefully we’ll get through the next couple weeks and we’ll start to be done with it,” he said.

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