The crews at Iowa’s largest airport are planning for their second major winter storm this month, this time during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. Roy Criss, spokesman for the Des Moines International Airport, says the fueling and maintenance teams are preparing all of their tools and trucks in hopes of avoiding any delay for thousands of holiday travelers.
“They put chemicals on the runways much like the DOT does with roadways and interstates,” Criss says. “They will wait until the absolute most opportune time to put that brine down before the sleet, rain or snow or whatever is coming. They plow those two runways just like you see snowplows out on the highway doing to keep those things clear and provide traction so planes can land and take off.”
Forecasters say the foul weather should start hitting Iowa’s capitol city tonight and could last into Friday. Criss says anyone who’s making the trek to Des Moines to catch a flight should be checking in with their airline frequently, not the airport itself. “Go to the website or call your airline,” Criss says.
“Whoever you bought your ticket from, that airline will know before we do what the status of your flight is. The information screens here in the airport are going to give you the status of your flight from here to your first stop, which may be a hub airport. From there to your destination, we don’t know what the status of your flight is but your airline will.”
During the blizzard two weeks ago, Criss notes the airport never closed, but many airlines did choose not to take off or land. Over that two-and-a-half day snowstorm, some 84 flights were canceled either into or out of Des Moines. Criss has a tip for travelers who’re carrying presents.
“From a security standpoint, we want to remind folks the TSA always says don’t wrap your gifts before you leave home,” he says. “If something inside one of the gifts sets off an alarm, they’re going to have to unwrap it. Wait to get to your destination to wrap gifts.” The Des Moines airport is served by more than a dozen airlines and handles nearly two-million passengers a year.