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Fog, summer storms affect flights at Great Falls International Airport

Posted at 8:52 PM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 22:52:53-04

Great Falls International Airport officials say it’s unusual to have diverted flights this time of year, but they’re not out of the question with strong summer storms and fog in the forecast.

More than half a dozen flights in and out of Great Falls were delayed Thursday morning.

John Faulkner, director of the Great Falls International Airport, says the airport stays open in all conditions, but it’s up to individual pilot and airline policies whether or not they choose to fly.

Unpredictable winds and low cloud cover are just a few of several factors that pose threats to flight times.

“If there’s tornadoes in the area, the planes aren’t going to land during that, and then if there’s severe hail in the area, they may choose to just divert the flight somewhere else — wherever the closest airport is that doesn’t have those types of conditions,” said Faulkner.

However, he says the geographic location of the Great Falls International Airport usually gives it an advantage over other airports in the state.

“We probably have less diversions than the other Montana airports. Most of those are right up against the mountains, and that tends to cause more weather problems for them,” he said.

Faulkner recommends always checking the Great Falls International Airport’s website and downloading your airline’s mobile app for flight updates.