Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

March 11, 2014

Airline explains canceled flight

TRAVERSE CITY — Airline passengers on a canceled flight from Detroit to Cherry Capital Airport received bad information when told the Traverse City airport was closed for business, an airline spokesman said.

Scott Thien, manager of corporate communications for Republic Airway Holdings, said Chautauqua Airlines flight 6061 was canceled because of delays and concerns that flight’s pilots were reaching their daily limit for time on the job under federal regulations.

Republic operated the March 2 flight and serves as a Delta connections flight from Detroit to Traverse City.

Thien said he does not know who told passengers on the flight that Cherry Capital was closed but doing so was a mistake.

“It was an unfortunate situation,” Thien said. “Republic did what it could to insure the safety of its passengers.”

Last week the Record-Eagle reported the frustrations of passenger Len Price, 72, who was on the flight with about 46 others when it was canceled. He said passengers were told the flight was scratched because Cherry Capital was shut down.

“I was told they are not accepting any flights,” Price said. “Everybody was steaming mad.”

Price said he later checked with Cherry Capital Airport Director Kevin Klein and learned the airport had not closed.

Thien said Monday the flight was delayed by air traffic controllers and because of a mechanical issue. The flight eventually was canceled because of concern the flight’s crew members were approaching a work hour limit imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Price said he received a call from Thien explaining what was described to him as a communications error. Price said he was appreciative of the explanation. Passengers are not being offered reimbursement.

Price and his family were flown into Traverse City the next day.

“I’m glad they called,” Price said. “I didn’t really agree with everything they said but at least they made an attempt.”

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