Although it hasn’t been a super snowy winter, it has still been a challenging one for crews working to keep operations running smoothly at Burlington International Airport. Last Friday’s storm caused treacherous travel nightmares for those trying to arrive or depart.
“It was something that we could not see when we were trying to clean up, and the conditions were just not safe. If you take the ice, and you take the wind, and you take the snow, it was just to much,” says BTV Director of Aviation, Gene Richards.
It was something that BTV wasn’t used too. The airport hadn’t closed in nearly 20 years, but Richards points out that they had to think about safety.
“It wasn’t safe for us to be out there, so we pulled out for a little bit, closed down, and spent the day cleaning up,” Richards says.
And Richards explains it couldn’t have come at a better time. “It was a perfect time to close, because in New England there wasn’t a lot of air traffic that day. So as I evaluated the safety, which always comes first, then the volumes. As long as we were open at the end of the day, that was important, and that’s when we were open again.”
But that’s not the only challenge, BTV is over budget both for labor and salt and snow removal. While it is of some concern, Richards assures us that that he’s going to make things work.
“Because we’ve had freezing fog [and] a lot of icing, those take extra labor and they also take a lot of extra materials,” he says. “So as we go into spring, we could be challenged with that so we have some concerns. But at the end of the day, when it’s at the airport, you have to spend what you have to spend, and you have to do what you have to do.”
Richards says that as they come closer to the end of the fiscal year, that is when crunch time begins.