Airport remains open as snow dump hits city

Domestic flights bore the brunt of disruptions because of snow at Christchurch International Airport this morning. 

Chief Operations Officer, Andy Lester, says while a number of flights have managed to get in and depart, some passengers travel was disrupted.  "While the airport is open, it is essential passengers check with their airlines before beginning their travel as they will be the ones to determine whether conditions allow them to fly." 

Some international flights have managed to get away during breaks in the weather. One inbound international flight operated by Singapore Airlines had to be diverted to Auckland. It has now returned to Christchurch, touching down a short time ago. 

Earlier this morning, the main runway and taxi-ways were covered by up to 8mm of snow but Andy Lester says airport staff have managed to now clear them completely of snow and slush. 

"Today's snow has not been, at this stage, as disruptive for the airport as we experienced last month but we are conscious more snow is forecast and conditions can change rapidly which could mean further disruptions." 

Christchurch International Airport has been preparing for this event since the middle of last week when it was first notified of the likelihood of snow. This has included bringing in additional equipment and resources as well as making arrangements to ensure staff could safely come into work. 

"We have a responsibility to the travelling public to maintain the operational integrity of the airport 24 hours a day seven days a week, and our staff are integral in ensuring this can happen.  

"That is why we made contingencies last Friday to have our own staff and the Four Wheel Drive Club available to collect and return personnel to their homes should it be too dangerous for them to travel in their own vehicles.  

"A number of airport and agency employees availed themselves of this service this morning. We will ensure they are able to also return safely to their homes at the end of their shifts."

For further information contact: Airport Communications Phone: 03 353 7807 or Mobile: 021 450 202.

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