LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Airlines have already canceled more than a dozen flights at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport this week, and more cancellations could be on the way.
When the skies are clear planes have no trouble landing on the runway, but when the weather gets bad they need the help of a crucial instrument called the Instrument Landing System or ILS. That equipment stopped working this week and with more bad weather expected early next week, travelers could see more problems.
"We were flying into Lubbock from Dallas-Love and there all flights to Lubbock canceled. We had to reroute to Amarillo and check out a rental car there and drive," said Kelly Blackwood. Tuesday night he needed to get to Lubbock to recruit engineering students at Texas Tech, but the trip became more of an ordeal than he had bargained for when the airport's ILS broke.
"Rental car company charged me extra money because I had to pick up a car in Amarillo and drop it off in Lubbock. We were about 4-5 hours late getting into the hotel to get some work done Tuesday night," said Blackwood.
"Very unfortunate that this piece of vital equipment went out during a weather event," said James Loomis, the Aviation Director at the airport.
He says the Federal Aviation Administration owns and maintains the ILS equipment. They've had engineers working to fix the problem for days, but Loomis says an issue like this is rare. "I've been in this business 41 years. This is my first experience like this," added Loomis. He adds that he is hopeful the FAA will fix the issue soon, he says if they don't travelers could face more cancellations which affects the airports bottom line and lots of travel plans. "Our concession revenue will be down, our landing fees will be down," said Loomis.
"Obviously they need to get it fixed if they want to keep people and businesses traveling through Lubbock," said Blackwood.
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