Cold weather cancelling flights
Published Tuesday, January 7, 2014 7:42AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 7, 2014 7:40PM EST
Cold weather across the eastern half of the continent is once again causing problems, especially for those attempting to fly to other cities.
On Tuesday multiple flights to Atlanta, New York, Toronto and other locations were delayed or cancelled.
Pearson International Airport reported that cold temperatures were freezing equipment and making conditions unsafe for employees. The airport ordered a "ground stop" meaning airplanes were not allowed to land until 8:45 a.m.
The cancellations at Pearson and other airports made for lengthy lines at Trudeau airport as passengers arrived only to find out they could not leave Montreal as anticipated.
Montreal's airport authority urged people to check their flight status before leaving home, and if their flight was cancelled to try to reschedule from home.
Air Canada said customers should expect reduced operations to continue due to inclement weather in eastern Canada and the U.S. northeast. The airline said it hopes to resume regular flight scheduling on Thursday or Friday.
Diverted to Fredericton
The cancellations at Pearson come one day after Trudeau airport was forced to divert flights to other airports because of icy runways, with at least four flights were diverted from Montreal to Fredericton on Sunday night
Passengers on the last of those diverted flights were able to arrive in Montreal on Tuesday morning, and while glad to be home from Cuba, they were not impressed with the service during their unscheduled layover in New Brunswick.
"Families weren't a priority, I can say that for sure," said one mother. "We waited in line and waited again."
Another passenger said the worst part was waiting on the plane on the tarmac for six hours, not knowing what was going to happen.
"We got the sense that some information was being withheld from us," she said.
There was one passenger who suffered a medical emergency on the initial flight and was helped by a physician upon landing in Fredericton.
"We got the patient taken care of and out of the plane and to a local hospital - but it was stressful for everyone on the plane," said the passenger.
CanJet eventually put up the passengers in a hotel near the airport, and they were able to fly to Trudeau on Tuesday, roughly 24 hours after they left Cuba.
Police in Montreal questioned one man when the plane landed because of multiple angry comments he made in the air. He was eventually released without charges and permitted to go home.
CanJet told CTV Montreal that no one was available Tuesday to respond to questions about the delay on the tarmac.
"They're on my blacklist, for sure," said one weary traveller. "I'm not going to fly CanJet unless they change their management."
Cold weather also affecting roads, schools
The temperature in Montreal dropped to -17 C overnight and is expected to gradually warm up to thawing temperatures by week's end.
The cold snap, coming after a day of rain and very mild temperatures, coated streets in a sheen of ice that contributed to several early morning and overnight car crashes.
The provincial government reported that hospitals in Laval and Montreal were seeing a large number of people seeking medical attention after after falling down, and it also advised people who called for an ambulance to do their best to spread salt or sand in order to protect the safety of paramedics.
The city of Montreal cautioned it would take time to spread abrasives to make the sidewalks passable for all.
"We've got about 220 pieces of equipment that have been on the streets since precipitation started [Sunday] night," said Jacques-Alain Lavallée. "We're making sure that abrasives are put on sidewalks and streets... The emphasis is always on metro station entrances, bus stops, hospitals, schools, but also the main streets like Sherbrooke, Rene Levesque."
The cold is also being blamed for a pipe that burst at Queen of Angels Academy in Dorval on Sunday evening. That school is closed until Thursday, Jan. 9.