How Bad Does The Weather Have To Be To Cancel A Flight

With recent snow storms and weather warnings, it should come as no surprise that flights often do get cancelled due to weather-related issues. Airplanes must meet a rigorous list of requirements for commercial flights which are generally exceeded by the manufactures set out by Transport Canada Civil Aviation regulations.

When it comes to safety, no inconvenience can triumph over it. However, when it comes down to snow, rain or wind, some guidelines are followed to determine if a flight is a go or no go.

Wind Factor

On otherwise clear days, the wind is not typically a factor as to whether or not a flight will be cancelled. Wind is mainly a consideration when it is blowing across the runway and not down. An aircraft can withstand wind that is less than 25 knots blowing across. However, if other factors are introduced, such as rain or snow, then the runway will become more of a concern and the tolerance decreases from the 25-knot crosswind.

Snow Factor

If it is lightly or moderately snowing, then there should be no interruptions to flights. Heavy snow can lead to cancellations even if the plane is de-iced and thawed out and runways are cleared of snow. If there is slush on the runway, accumulated snow or  ½ inch of deep water, then pilots will most likely find it increasingly challenging to propel enough speed to take off or adequately land.

Freezing Rain Factor

Freezing rain is often a weather condition that can cripple flights. According to veteran airline captain, John Nance, “One thing we don’t fly in is freezing rain. If an airport is hit with rain or drizzle when temperatures hover near the freezing point, airport authorities will consider shutting it down, and most definitely the airlines will start cancelling flights.”

As airplanes collect ice quicker than de-icing can occur during such conditions, an airplane can easily lose traction, and the pilot can lose control.

Despite visitors and guests at the Ramada Edmonton Yellowhead Hotel are safe from recent snow weather warnings, which is hitting the east coast, experience with weather-related cancellations is still common. This is especially the case when your arrival or departure destination is experiencing severe weather.

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