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Flight cancellations compound travel problems

Feb 18, 2016

The localizer on Aspen Mountain.
Credit FAA

  As visitors, businesses, and locals grapple with the Glenwood Canyon closure, the Aspen Airport has had to cancel or delay nearly thirty flights. Officials hope to be back up and running on all cylinders today.

A piece of equipment called the airport’s “localizer” failed a check-up earlier this week. It’s on Aspen Mountain and key for making sure aircraft can safely fly out at night or during low visibility. The FAA discovered problems with the instrument Tuesday and it had to be taken out of commission.

Dustin Havel is Assistant Aviation Director at the Aspen Pitkin County airport. He says the FAA hopes to have the localizer up and running midday Friday. “They have all the repairs done to it,” said Havel on Thursday afternoon, “but before [the FAA] can return it to service they need to do a flight test. So they have a government aircraft that comes up here and confirms that the equipment is safe and ready to return to service.”

If that happens successfully, Saturday would be the first full day of regular flight service. Airport officials say they understand the cancelled and delayed flights are frustrating for passengers and working closely with the FAA to get the problem fixed.